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.

June 4, 2016

The Adder's Fang

Last couple of weeks I've read a bit about a lost Tiki and Hurricane ingredient called fassionola.

It's making a comeback, but I can't find a recipe anywhere only descriptions of a tropical fruit punch taste that I have no reference point for being Danish.

I did notice however that it is bright red and seasonal as it contains strawberry.

So I went to my local supermarket and stared at the stone hard mangoes and decided to make assionola - as I live in Asserbo, Denmark - from rhubarb and strawberries from my own garden.

In an original Don the Beachcomber recipe for the Cobra's Fang selected herbs are mentioned.

So I made my assionola by cooking 2/3 rhubarb with 1/3 strawberries, lemon juice, black pepper, sage and sugar and a little water.

Once I had strained the solids off - great on freshly backed baguette - I cooked the bright red cordial with a little extra juice to thicken it a bit and make it syrup like. I also added a dollop of Sriracha Sauce for a little venom.

Because obviously my goal was to rework the Cobra's Fang a bit. Just as Denmark has no tropical fruits - other than underripe, imported ones - we have no cobras or any other dangerous snakes.

We do have a pretty adder - it is slightly poisonous but only if you are allergic will you get more than a little discomforted. It's also rare - I have seen one once.

The Adder's Fang is a mild and refreshing take on a Cobra's Fang - but without Falernum. For one reason I do not like it. So I just upped the fassionola.

  • 3 cl golden rum - I used Appleton Estate Extra
  • 3 cl Lemon Hart 151
  • 6 cl assionla - see above
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • 3 cl orange juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitter
  • 1 cl aquavit - I used Rød Ålborg
Measure everything into a blender, fill with crushed ice and blitz 5 times. Serve in tall glass or Tiki mug.

May 16, 2016

Popcorn Milk Punch

A couple of years ago I split a Snow Ball and pretty much decided right there and then never to mix another cocktail with milk. Since then I have - successfully - mixed several.

The Buttermilk Margarita and the Flutterby Lassies are both favorites and I do love a good Brandy Milk Punch for brunch.

I've also tried to update the Danish tradition for drinking aquavit and milk in the morning with my own Java & Brioche.

And then I saw a recipe for a popcorn milkshake and just knew I had to work with that idea.

Right away I changed the recipe for the popcorn milk thinking it sounded like way too much sugar and popcorn for my taste.

So I ended up cooking 3 cups of freshly popped popcorn in 500 ml organic whole milk with 6 tablespoons sugar and 0,5 tablespoon salt.

When I blended and strained the mixture after 24 hours in the fridge I thought it was a little overpowering, but I went ahead and mixed 60 ml bourbon with 120 ml popcorn milkshake.

It was way too sweet, but mixing 60 ml bourbon with 60 ml popcorn milkshake and 60 ml whole milk made a very tasty drink.

I do think however it's more of a dessert than a cocktail.

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.