April 17, 2016

The Flavigny Swizzle


Mixology Monday turns 10 this month, so I wanted my contribution to be special.

Our host Fred of The Cocktail Virgin Blog  - and the guy who is keeping MxMo alive - set us the task of making a swizzle.

Or as he puts it in his announcement post:

..most cold Swizzles are built in the glass, topped with crushed ice, and agitated with a rapidly spinning natural swizzle stick (or facsimile) to mix and chill.

On April 24th 2006 the theme of the very first MxMo was Pastis, so I figured I would incorporate the taste of anis into my swizzle. 

I looked at the gorgeous Ojen Frappe of New Orleans and considered a few other possibilities but my mind kept returning to some of my favorite candies: Little rounded hard candies with a mild taste of violets and a center of anis made in the french city of Flavigny. 

Actually the pastilles Les Anis de Flavigny are some of the oldest commercially made candy in the world.

My next challenge was finding the right anis flavored spirit to go with the taste of violets. I chose the Italian Sambuca and once I had looked to Italy figured a hint of lemon would marry the harshness of the Sambuca and the softness of Creme de Violette.

Time to start swizzling - I still have my homemade swizzle stick from MxMo XC
  • 4,5 cl Sambuca - I used a cheap bottle from the local supermarket
  • 1,5 cl Limoncello 
  • 3 cl Creme de Violette - I used Bitter Truth  
Fill the bottom of a spacious glass with crushed ice and add the Sambuca and Limoncello and a bit more ice. Twirling the swizzle stick between your palms start mixing and cooling. Then fill the glass with ice and swizzle some more to jeg the liquid up in the glass. Finally pour the Creme de Violette over the top and let it paint the ice and seep into the glass. Garnish with fresh violets.


April 1, 2016

New Nordic Cherry Herring Cocktail - AKA the April Fool


My home country is famous for Danish Design, New Nordic Cooking and in cocktail circles for a certain cherry liqueur.

What is perhaps not as well known is the fact, that the name of that liqueur is just a translation error. In fact I may be the only one who knows this, as I just found an old, original document about this today April 1st.

The original name in Danish was closer to kirsebærsild, which translate to cherry herring.

I'm all about finding the roots of cocktails, in fact I fancy myself the equivalent of David Wondrich, Philip Greene, Ted Haigh, Jerred Brown and Jeff Berry rolled into one and divided by four - and then female of course!

When I don't see my self as an penguin - but even in that incarnation I would love this New Nordic Cherry Herring Cocktail.

So let's get mixing:
  • 1 piece of pickled herring - about one square centimeter - and another one for garnish
  • 6 cl snaps - aquavit to non-Danes - I used Brøndums which has just a mild caraway taste
  • 3 cl cherry liqueur - I used the one at the back of my bar cabinet - and a little to the right
  • 10 cl organic buttermilk - I used one that was close to the sell by date for the more authentic sour note
  • 1 slice of Danish rye bread toasted for garnish and a snack
Start by muddling one of the pieces of herring in the bottom of a shaker with the cherry liqueur. Then add the snaps and buttermilk and ice.

Shake hard for a good 30 minutes you want the buttermilk to froth.

Strain into designer low ball glass and garnish with a triangle of herring on a triangle of rye bread on a cocktail pick. Think one tiny little round of Danish smørrebrød.

You may have to double strain - unless you like bits of muddled herring in you cocktail.

Enjoy




March 21, 2016

The Stanley Daiquiri



Until late last night I was not sure I would be able to come up with a cocktail for this month's Mixology Monday.

Dageb of the Nihil Utopia blog had set us the tough task of working with an overproof spirit.

As he explains in his announcement post:

My theme this time is overproof. Or rather how you utilize overproofs.  Do you sub them into your standards? Save them for accents in particular recipes? Pour them into ceramic volcanoes and set them on fire? Reserve them only for making liqueres? Whatever it be I'm looking for your recipes that use overproofs as base or as modifier in a noticeable wa

I have several overproof spirits - but to be honest I rarely use them and mostly just often hand samples to friends and coworker who want to know what they are all about.

Then somehow I ended up looking at at recipe for a banana and steak dish - Steak Stanley - that prompted some wheels in my sleep addled brain to fall into gear.

So I give you the Daiquiri Stanley:
  • 3 cl white rum - I used Plantation 3 star
  • 3 cl Wray and Nephew overproof white rum
  • 3 cl white grapefruit juice
  • 1,5 cl horseradish simple syrup - I brought 5 cl cane sugar, 5 cl water and 2 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish to the boil and cooled. I measured it through a sieve to eliminate the horseradish
  • 1, 5 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard's Banane du Bresil
Measure everything into a shaker, add ice and shake for about 20 seconds - strain into a coup or Nick and Nora glass.

Did I cook the steak? Yup - in Danish!

Update about the origins of Steak Stanley - March 21st

Let me readily admit: I love details. Once something catches my attention I can not let it go before I know all (yup, I’m also a horrible know-it-all) which is why cocktails and their history will always be of great interest to me as I can never know it all.

But since I myself came up with the Stanley Daiquiri - what detail could possibly be nibbling at the back of my mind?

The steak of course - I have cooked it twice now - and done quite a bit of personalization - I don’t have much wine and won’t open a bottle for just a sauce, but I have plenty of vermouth, even a modern German one Belsazar that I didn’t much like in my Negroni, but which makes an excellent sauce.

Strange as the combination of banana, horseradish and steak may seem at first glance it is excellent and very tasty.

So where did it come from, and who is Stanley - to be?

Well as Tom Fitzmorris writes he first encountered the dish at Brennan’s and then traced it to dinning cars on the american railroad.

But it’s much older than that - or to de precise: Calling a dish Stanley or “a la Stanley” is much older than that.

Which got me thinking, could Stanley be Henry Morton Stanley the Welsh’s explorer who found Livingstone and saved Ermin Pasha (and annexed Congo for the Belgian King Leopold II - not the country the king - with unheard of brutality)? Stanley who for some is a hero and others a brute.

Stanley found Livingstone on assignment for the New York Herald and his accounts was printed far and wide.

After he found Ermin Pasha he went on a lecture tour of the USA in 1890-91 - by rail I suspect - the black Pullmann Chef and cookbook author Rufus Estes  counts taking care of Stanley as one of his most memorable jobs. However in his Good Things to Eat there is no mention of any dish named in Stanleys honor.

There is a commemorative programme of Stanley’s tour online that took him to New Orleans on March 29th 1891 - unfortunately with no mention of food but with adds for Angostura Bitter and Lois Roederer Champagne - that warmed my cocktail heart.

But then my Henry Stanley Morton train of thought was derailed, by the existence of a cookbook published in 1859 called The Moderne Cook written by Charles Elmé Francatelli.

It lists several “a la Stanley” dished including young carrots a la Stanley and bisque of Lobsters a la Stanley. The only thing that connects the two is both are served with quenelles - the carrots with quenelles of fowl the lobster bisque with quenelles of fish.

That really threw a spanner in my research machine.

A glimmer of hope was a small New Orleans connection - the cookbook was published in that wonderful city by Thomas L. White, Canal Street 108 at a price of 3 dollars. (Seems a lot but he was a student of Careme and had cooked for Queen Victoria)

Henry Morton Stanley was no where near Africa in 1859.

But this is why I will always love details: He was near New Orleans.

In the spring of 1859 he arrived in the city as a cabin boy on a ship from Liverpool. He was 18 years old and still went by his given name John Rowlands.

But in New Orleans he met Henry Hope Stanley who by some accounts was close to the first person in John Rowlands life until then who was ever nice to him.

Rowland asked for a job from Stanley who had a store in New Orleans and from that meeting Henry Morton Stanley the man and explorer emerged as the abused and neglected boy found freedom from looking at the mighty Mississippi River, in the city of New Orleans and in simple human decency.

Powerful stuff - but what about that steak with bananas and horseradish?

Hmmmm, well - hmmm-ing som more, I have found something, a menu for a restaurant in New York in 1914 - Henry J. Wollenhaupt of 37 East 19th Street.

Right there is a description of steak with banana and horseradish: Filet mignon saute a la Stanley.

Henry Stanley Morton died in 1904 in London - could he still be the Stanley?

I still don’t know, but I will keep looking, promise….

Update 2 - April 10th

I have been looking some more - I still can't find a source for steak with bananas and horseradish older than 1914, but I see that according to the book Breakfast At Brennan’s And Dinner, Too the dish was supposedly created in honor of Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire when the play was turned into a film and the film crew was living in the French Quarter.

The film premier was in 1952 so that can't be the truth either. I do however think Lolis Eric Elie is on to something in this article about the fine line between tradition and staleness. Perhaps the dish was reworked and rediscovered by Brennan's in honor of the film.

And if the dish is still on the menu this summer when I attend Tales of the Cocktail I will try it - maybe I can convince them to mix my Stanley Daiquiri. (Although now it seems to be honoring a fictional character who is both a wife beater and a rapist. Not sure how I feel about that.)


February 22, 2016

Violet Kai


Spring has far from sprung in these parts, and the vacations people with school children enjoy in February are called winter vacation, not spring break.

But I do understand the brief for this month's Mixology Monday - to imagine what libations conjures up spring.

Joel of the Southern Ash blog puts it this way in his announcement post:

As we look past the frost in the air for the arrival of spring, I wanted to challenge you with the theme of Spring Break!..  The best part of Spring Break is that it means so many things to so many different people, so I have some high expectations this month.  Yes, tiki-heads, I am looking at you. I want all of you to dig deep, steeled by last month’s MxMO, and find your spring break drink! What sort of drinks do you enjoy when you start to break out of your winter shell? Do you crave a return to gin and tonics? Is there a drink that calls to you as the weather warms and the sun creeps through the sky longer and longer?  Perhaps there is a drink that you fondly recall from your days of being a callow youth on Spring Break that led you down this primrose cocktail path?.. This is the month to to share those warm weather finds!

I hardly qualify as a tiki-heads but I can not overlook the fact that the 22nd is Don the Beachcombers birthday - he would have turned 109 today.

So I did surf around in the Total Tiki app looking for some cocktail with ingredients signaling spring - in Denmark.

Rhubarb and violets are some of the sure sign of spring at latitude 56 N.

I came across Dons Royal Daiquiri and that got me thinking - so I present Violet Kai, named in honor of a dear colleague who is retiring in a weeks time and who will be missed for being a truly decent human being and for his amazing, smooth voice - yes I work in broadcasting where voices matter.

  • 3 cl light rum - I used Plantation 3 star
  • 3 cl golden rum - I used Appleton Signature blend
  • 6 cl white grapefruit juice - I do not think it will work with pink grapefruit juice
  • 0.75 homemade pineappe syrup - cook fresh juice with equal parts organic cane sugar
  • 1,5 cl creme de violette - I used the one from Bitter Truth
  • 1 cl coco creme - Coco Lopez of cause
Add all but 0,75 cl of the creme de violette to a shaker, fill it with ice and shake hard. Strain into highball glass filled with crushed ice. Float the last of the creme de violette on top and serve with striped straw and perhaps a fresh flower if you can find one. I could not.

January 22, 2016

Mr. Bali High

You can't mix rum, pineapple and coffee without acknowledging the classic Mr. Bali Hai.

But I have made a lighter, longer alternative and since it contains caffein I thought Mr. Bali High and appropriate name.

It takes a little work ahead of the cocktail hour to mix this, but both the coffee shrub and the pineapple syrup can be used for other purposes and is well worth the work.

I used the coffee shrub in my version of a White Russian and it's the same batch, it keeps amazingly well. You finde the recipe here.

For the pineapple syrup i reduced 2 dl fresh pineapplejuice to 1 dl and then added 1 dl sugar. I used simple white sugar but a light muscovado would be nice too.

Once the syrup and shrub is ready it's a really easy highball to put together and I think it would be really easy to batch it and the add the tonic when serving to a larger crowd.

  • 1,5 cl coffee shrub - recipe above
  • 1,5 cl pineapple syrup - ditto
  • 3 cl fresh pineapple juice
  • 6 cl golden rum - I used Appleton Signature Blend
  • 8 cl tonic - do spend the money on good stuff like Fever Tree or Fentiman
Add the first four ingredients to a shaker and shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice and add the tonic - serve with straws.


Also this drink works really well without the rum - if you want a non-alcoholic alternative for a party. Might not be suitable for kids because of the coffee shrub.



January 18, 2016

Clementina Caliente

With only google translate to guide me, I hope there are no double entendres or offensivenes in the name of my cocktail. It was kindly offered by a friend and seems fitting.

I have to say it's been a long time since a Mixology Monday theme was quite as fitting as this month's.

Sunday morning as I drove home from work my car informed me it was -15 C (5F) outside. I drove through a landscape covered in snow, the moon was out as was all the stars and here and there I passed through frozen mist hovering 10 feet off the ground.

So coming up with a cocktail to brace yourself - the theme Doc Elliot has chosen - seems as natural as scraping ice of the windshield. But I'll let him explain:
Winter usually evokes scenes of roaring fires with glasses or mugs filled with warming liquid fortifying us against the cold and damp. Winter provides the shared universal experience that spans language, geography and the centuries – that moment just before you step out into the cold; to walk to the bus stop, hit the ski slope, shovel the snow or feed the livestock. So what adult beverages can best prepare the body and steel the will for that moment when we  go forth into Winter?

Mind you it really isn't often -15 C in Danmark, that's further north in Scandinavia. And wearing one of these is a much better way to brace yourself keep than drinking alcohol but it also cramps your style.

The Clementina Caliente has the ratio of the Last Word and the same formula of base spirit - citrus juice - Chartreuse - liqueur.

I find that it seldom fails and in this case succeeds.

  • 3 cl mezcal - I used Ilegal Joven
  • 3 cl yellow Chartreuse
  • 3 cl Ancho Reyes chile liqueur
  • 3 cl fresh squeezed clementine juice

Shake it all with ice and strain into cocktail glass garnish with a twist of peel from the clementine


January 8, 2016

Cherry Sour


10 years ago three men had a brilliant idea: The wanted to make wine from cherries. In the land of Cherry Heering that might not sound like such a groundbreaking thing but it was.

They decide to actually make wine from berries picked right at the front door of the winery, berries with different characteristics depending on where they grow.

The resulting Frederiksdal Kirsebærvin is amazing and thankfully they have been hugely succesful. One of the three men is a coworker of mine, and he have supplied me with a few bottles over the years including the cherry liqueur this sour depends on.


  • 6 cl Islay whiskey - I used Ardbeg 10 year old
  • 9 cl freshly squeezed juice from blood oranges
  • 0,75 cl amaretto
  • 0,75 cl simple syrup (maybe less if your oranges are sweet, mine were lovely and sour)
  • 1 cl cherry liqueur
  • 1/2 egg white
Add all but the cherry liqueur to a shaker and shake hard for 10 sekunds without ice, then add ice and shake until the shaker turns icy on the outside. Strain into lowball glass and then add the cherry liqueur - add it in one swift motion so that it settles on the bottom of the glass live a glowing, red January sunset. 




November 13, 2015

White Russian


It took me a while to wrap my mind around the theme for this month's Mixology Monday. Host Shaun and Christa of the BoozeNerds asks for a standoffish cocktail, in other words a cocktail that...hmmm which...oh, better let them explain. From their announcement post:
We’re looking for cocktails that use at least one non-garnish ingredient that is not stirred or shaken with the others. Rinses, floats, foams? Sure! Mists? Why not? We welcome whatever your creative geniuses can come up with.
Okay, I can do that. But whenever I tried to come up with something new I kept seeing a cocktail for my inner eye. A cocktail I had a few weeks ago at the wonderful Copenhagen bar Barking Dog. A cocktail that made my drinking companion and I feel like kids in a very grown up manner. A White Russian served with a cruncy layer og Coco Pops and a spoon.

I realized I couldn't come up with anything better, so here it is:

  • 6 cl vodka - I used the ultra local Den Klodsede Bjørn distilled less than a 2 kilometers away from the barking dog
  • 3 cl coffee liqueur - I used Toussaints
  • 9 cl ice cold organic whole milk - I had let a few Coco Pops steep in it for about 10 minutes
  • 1 dash coffee balsamic shrub - I used this recipe and it makes a wonderful ice coffee too
Add everything to a shaker, fill with ice and shake until well mixed and frothy. Strain into milk glass and garnish with a good layer of Coco Pops. Serve with a spoon for ease of eating the cereal either before drinking or after.




October 18, 2015

Lurking in the Deep Blue


The theme for this month’s MxMo is Spooky Sips. While I tried to think of something scary it dawned on me, that there must be a huge cultural factor in what scares us.

Denmark became a Lutheran country with the stroke of a pen the day before Halloween in 1536.

From that day the church stopped observing saints days - and the king grabbed all property and land from the roman-catholic church.

I’m sure the reformation did not stop common people from putting out lamps cut not from pumpkins but gourds since they were plentiful to fend off evil spirits, but the tradition slowly faded and did not return until about 10-15 years ago.

So if spirits from the dead does not hunt us, what does? Being surrounded on all sides except for 68 kilometer land border with Germany by water anything lurking in the sea will get our blood pumping.

Not that we have many dangerous sea creatures in the cold waters of the northern Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. But the idea is scary.

Denmark send out the worlds first expedition with oceanographic tasks in 1761. And since then there have been several and several brilliant Lego Deep Sea Exploration Sets to inspire future oceanographers. (Yes I want a set)

The most famous expedition was the Galathea II expedition from 1950-1952. The scientists found life at the bottom of the Philippine Trench - at the time thought to be the deepest spot on earth.

So in response to the request from JFL of Rated R Cocktails for spooky sips, mine had to come from the bottom of the sea.

As an interesting Tiki aside - one of the regular sailors on the ship - Ole Reiman - brought home huge amounts of ethnographic and opened a bar called Galatheakroen in Copenhagen that has an amazing Tiki vibe but serves mainly beer and is famous for it’s Rijsttafel.

I don’t know if Reiman visited any tiki bars during Galathea’s circumnavigation - but according to the log the ships was in Honolulu for 3 days in March of 1952 and 10 days in April so it’s not impossible.

And now for the Lurking in the Deep Blue:
  • 6 cl white rum - I used Plantation 3 star
  • 0.75 cl creme de banana - I used Giffard
  • 0.75 cl blue curacao - I used homemade
  • Big dash of creme de menthe - I used Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Menthe 
  • 9 cl tonic water - I used Pellegrino
Stir the first four ingredients with ice, serve over ice in a highball glass with the tonic added at the end.

Or go crazy in a fish bowl with Titanic ice cubes, stones and sea shells (I boiled mine for 5 minutes), fish cut from orange peel and blood - I had some thick rhubarb shrub - grenadine would be good too. What ever scares you.
And now I am off to the beach - to quote John Masefield from his poem Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
I will leave you with a couple of nice videos

A 20 minute long film from the actual expedition - unfortunately this is in Danish only but around the 17 minute mark the net is brought up from the deep and life discovered.

A delightful portrait of the now 96 year old scientist who discovered life at the bottom of the Philippine Trench with English subtitles:


The Old Man and the Deep Sea from Natural History Museum Denmark on Vimeo.

October 5, 2015

Java & Brioche


Coffee and bread, you ask? Is this not a cocktail blog? Indeed it is - and todays cocktail is inspired by a late 1800’s early 1900's hangover cure from a cafe in Copenhagen involving coffee and bread.

Café Bernina was a popular hangout for young intellectuals from about 1880 until the 1920’s. At it’s height it was owned and run by two Swiss brothers named Tönjachen but always called Cognacsen (well it's funny in Danish).

Bernina's specialty was a punch called the devils punch made from 17 different types of booze. After a night of drinking the devils punch with people like the Norwegian Knut Hamsun or the Swedish August Strindberg you needed help to get you going the next morning. Bernina had a cure.

Some guests had ham and eggs on rye bread others had brioche and java - bread and coffee - which has always been the way most Danes eat breakfast.

One of the young intellectuals was the Danish author Gustav Wied. He once wrote a short story called Spader Es (sorry in Danish) meaning Ace of Spades -  set at Bernina.

In this story a man orders an Absinthe au Lait as if every cafe in Copenhagen would know that particular drink. And then he goes on to explain that absinthe mixed with milk makes him very mellow and friendly whereas absinthe neat or mixed with water makes him bitter and antagonistic.

So I looked it up - all of google has only references to this particular short story - Absinthe au Lait does not exist in the real world.

So I decided to make it exist - and to work in the brioche and java too (Ham and eggs would have been a step too far, don't you think)

It turns out that the Dutch (not to be confused with the Danish although our languages are equally difficult to understand) have a tradition for drinking warm milk with an anis tablets or blocks dissolved in it.

And back when Bernina existed and the intellectuals had ham and eggs or brioche and java for breakfast in the less affluent parts of Copenhagen workers started their day with a Milk Toddy - warm - or cold - milk and a shot of aquavit. (One such establishment can be seen in the picture at the end of the post)

So it all comes full circle with Java & Brioche:
  • 2 cl absinthe - I used Artemisia's Butterfly 65%
  • 2 dl milk - I used organic full milk
  • half a small brioche bun - I baked my own you can too
  • 1 teaspoon ground java
Start by steeping the brioche and java in the milk for at least a couple of hours in the fridge, then strain and strain and strain until all or most of the coffee and the bread is out of milk.

Pour the absinthe into the bottom of a glass capable of handling a bit of heat and then either steam the milk with an espresso milk frother or gently heat it in a sauce pan but do not bring it too close to boiling - it should only be hot.

Pour milk into absinthe and stir and then garnish with a coffee bean it your drink has a frothy head.

How does it taste you ask? Interesting is the polite word but it actually grew on me as I drank it and I could see it work for a late winter brunch with ham and eggs after a long walk on the beach.