May 17, 2015

Gowanus


I made a rookie mistake with my contribution to this month's MxMo: I didn't do my homework.

Our host Fred of Cocktail Virgin Slut  - they guy who singlehandedly keeps MxMo together - even pointed us in the right direction in his announcement post:
Turning to David Wondrich's Imbibe! for some historical reference, he bandied back and forth about possible creators and locales for this classic's creation. Perhaps it was created many places and many times, for sweet vermouth was the new hot ingredient of the 1870s and 1880s as St. Germain was in 2007 and 2008 (and arguably even to today). Wondrich quoted from the anonymously penned 1898 Cocktails: How To Make Them, "The addition of Vermouth was the first move toward the blending of cocktails." In my mind, the Manhattan takes the Old Fashioned one step further. Not only does it replace the sugar with sweet vermouth, but this sweetener ties its herbal notes to those of the bitters and its spice notes to the barrel-aged whiskey (especially rye whiskey) as well as the bitters again.
So no sugar in a Manhattan and in this Esquire article Wondrich is adamant that a Manhattan on ice is not a Manhattan.

Therefor my offering has an appropriate low brow New York name: The Gowanus - named for a neighbourhood in Brooklyn thru which one of the most polluted canals in the US runs. It's said to be 90 procent guns and the rest is industrial waste.

My cocktail tastes a whole lot better than that, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised:

  • 6 cl rye whisky - I used Rittenhouse 100 proof
  • 0.75 cl Aperol
  • 0.75 cl Zucca
  • 1.5 cl rhubarb-sriracha-syrup (I cooked fresh rhubarb juice with half the amount of sugar and a dollop of the chili sauce for 1 minute and left it to cool off)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. If you want to present this non-Manhattan drink, as a Manhattan - serve it up in a coup - or be a rookie like me and serve it in an old fashioned glass over ice with a garnish of a piece of fresh rhubarb gently poached in the rhubarb-sriracha-syrup.

Should you want to mix a more true riff on a Manhattan, take a look at some of the other contributions in Freds wrap-up.



May 3, 2015

Rhubarb Rosmary Julep


I am always late to the Kentucky Derby Party - but I guess I have the best excuse: I am 4387.94 miles as the internet flies from Churchill Downs. How could anyone be expected to accurately time a drive like that?

This year however I was awake during the actual race - not that I was following it, I was working.

But as an after party I mixed myself a spring julep.  Where the Kentucky Derby may be definite proof spring has arrived in parts of the US, here - in Denmark - rhubarb is that incontrovertible marker.

So I started by cooking a good bunch of rhubarb cut into chunks with 5 cl sugar and 1 dl water for about 10 minutes - I added two sprigs of rosemary and a bit of fresh lemon peel as it came to a quiet boil.

Strain and cool the cordial - if you are lucky it will be a bright delicious pink - if not it will be just as good. Then I was ready to mix:

  • 6 cl bourbon - I used Bulleit
  • 6 cl rhubarb cordial
  • 1 barspoon Fernet Branca (If you choose to cook the rhubarb with mint for a more authentic Mint Julep you could use Fernet Menta instead)
  • 1 spring of rosemary
  • Extra cordial
Fill a nice glass or Julep cup half up with crushed ice - add the bourbon, rhubarb cordial and Fernet Branca and give it a few stirs. Fill with crushed ice - stir again and if any of the ice is above the drink drizzle it pink with a little extra crodial. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a straw.

April 19, 2015

Pink Cadillac


My shameful cocktail secret hails from the longest running cocktailbar in Copenhagen outside of hotel bars. All you need to know to see the interior in your minds eye is the bar’s name: MexiBar.

Normally I would never admit, that I have partaken and even enjoyed a drink from the Dark Ages of Mixology, but Whitney of Tipicular Fixin’s leaves me with no choice with her MxMo theme: Drink of Shame:
So, you’re a certified, mixologist, craft-tender, bar chef, or fine spirit enthusiast…now. But, there was a time when you only ordered Long Island Iced Tea. Or, maybe you always made the Jello shots for your frat? Perhaps you’re the reason that your local had an Island Oasis machine for so long? Rye & Ginger? Vodka Seven? Someone was ordering these things. Your street cred would be ruined if you ordered or (gasp) served one now, but don’t you miss it, just a little? Wouldn’t you love to have one more Jolly Rancher? A chance to drink a mudslide without shame? We all made questionable drink choices in our past, the popular drinks from 1970 to the year 2000 were a cheap, sugary mess. Now is the time to resurrect your favourite drink from the time before modern Mixology. Give a new life to the drink… maybe you need to use fresh ingredients, or you can try elevating the spirits. Make everything from scratch or remove an offending ingredient. Do whatever you can to bring back and legitimize a drink you used to love. 
So let me introduce you to MexiBar: It opened sometime in the early 1990’s, it’s still running and must be be very close to it’s 25th anniversary.

The bar serves a few old classics made with great speed but no real love and many, many drinks of the 80’s variety with lot’s of vodka, cream, garishly coloured “fruit” juice and the garnish is often umbrellas and hanging monkeys.

For a few years that was the choice you had in Copenhagen if you didn’t want to go to a hotel bar to get a cocktail.

So we chose Mexibar. And regardless of how often I tried to make “good” choice when ordering at some point during the evening I started to drink Pink Cadillacs.

According to the bar menu it’s a mix of gin, vodka, Malibu, cream, grenadine, pineapple and orange juice topped off with bitter lemon.

So that’s what I had to work with.

Since I refuse to buy Malibu on the grounds of being a snob I left a good amount of fresh coconut squares steep in Plantation 3 Star white rum for 10 days.

I also decided to get a little more taste into the drink by using a good, clean dill aquavit instead of vodka. Homemade Grenadine, check, a decent bitter lemon, check, and of cause fresh juice. And to add to my overwhelming snobbery: Organic Cream.

Time to mix:
  • 3 cl gin - I used Tanqueray
  • 3 cl dill aquavit - I used D Argentum from Den Ny Spritfabrik - you could use vodka instead
  • 1,5 cl coconut rum - if using Malibu I would say up the amount of gin to 4,5 cl
  • 3 cl fresh pineapple juice
  • 3 cl fresh orange juice
  • 2 cl grenadine - I bring fresh pomegranate juice to a boil with half the amount of sugar, strain and cool it.
  • 3 cl heavy cream
  • 5-6 cl of bitter lemon
Measure everything but the bitter lemon into a shaker, shake hard with plenty of ice, strain into a hurricane glass and top off with bitter lemon.

Garnish with orange slice and pineapple tops and every piece of 80’s drinks paraphernalia you can lay your hands on.

The taste? Sweet like candy although the bitter lemon saves it from being undrinkable to my superior and evolved taste buds. But dang we had fun at MexiBar.



April 14, 2015

Improved Whiskey Cocktail in a hip flask


If a couple of weeks ago someone had asked me to tell them what pictures the words hip flask put in my mind, I would have given them two scenarios: An elderly uncle too alcoholic to be more than a back pocket away from booze or Barty Crouch Jr. polyjuiced into Mad Eye Moody in Harry Potter, constantly swigging the potion for fear he becomes himself again.

In other words more flask than hip

But then I was directed to the webpage of the Swig flask and a completely different picture materialised: Me on the beach, the sun setting in the distance, a small snack, good company and a strong, good cocktail in the flask and perhaps a couple of nice glasses.

Suddenly I could totally see the need for a hip flask in my home bar. Hip in the hip way.

And now that one of these flasks have landed on my desk - full disclosure as a gift from the Swig Company for me to review - I’m going to test drive my latter association well in advance of warm weather and good company.

First job: To figure out which cocktails would be good out of a hip flask. Even in a spring as cool as this, I still think anything like a Martini or an Aviation would be too warm by the time I made the 10 minute bicycle ride to the beach.

So I’m thinking more along the lines of an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan or even a Negroni. I could perhaps mix them ahead of time and stick the flask in my freezer for an hour before setting of?

The downside to the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan is the sugar, will it be hard to clean from the flask?

Well as it is made from steel I do not see, why I couldn’t pour boiling water into it and swirl any leftover sugar out.

And I’ve had this idea for An Improved Whiskey Cocktail forever, so I mixed it in my mixing glass, poured it into my flask, and gathered the stuff for a cold sundowner on the beach in April.


  • 6 cl Rittenhouse 100
  • 1 bar spoon homemade pineapple syrup(bring fresh pineapple juice with slightly less than an equal amount of sugar to the boil, strain and cool)
  • 1.75 cl Maraschino liqueur
  • Dash of Eucalyptus bitter
  • Dash of Absinthe


So here are my impressions:
  • You need to take the pouch off - if you don’t go for the naked Swig flask- in order for it to stand securely while you fill it.
  • You need either the original Swig funnel or another small funnel to fill it.
  • The screw top while certainly beautiful can be a little hard to get a grib on when your hands are cold, and you need to keep track of it, it’s easily lost.
  • It kept my cocktail fairly cold during the approximately 20 minutes from being filled until I took the first swig
  • I can't wait for warmer weather and cocktails on the beach. 

March 28, 2015

Shark


Back in October I visited PDT in New York and spend a brilliant evening at the bar watching Jeff Bell work and talking to a lot of very nice bar guests.

The visit had been planned well in advance and I knew exactly what my first drink was going to be: Shark.

My own take on this mix of Tiki and The Dark Ages of Mixology involves a homemade green Curacao and golden rum instead of butter infused rum.

Recently I tasted a butter infused cocktail in Copenhagen made by Sune Urth at No. 2. His methode leaves a completely clear liquid with no oily sheen on the surface. Until I master this proces I won't fat wash any booze.

Perhaps my changes to John DeBary's recipe are big enough to warrant a new name to the Shark, but the only sharklike creatures in the waters around Denmark are called Porbeagle in English (and has an equally unsexy name in Danish), so I hope I'm forgiven for keeping the name.

  • 4,5 cl golden rum - I used Appleton V/X
  • 1,5 cl over proof white rum - I used Wray and Nephew
  • 1,5 cl fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 cl fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cl Frangelico
  • 1 cl homemade green Curacao (or blue or how about purple? Find the recipe and explanation here)
  • 0,75 cl heavy cream
  • 0,75 cl simple syrup
  • Dash Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Measure everything into a shaker, shake well with ice and strain into low ball glass over plenty of crushed ice. Garnish with sprig from pinapple top and striped straw.


March 16, 2015

Bananas


Have I gone b...? Well just a bit. I am old enough to remember, that bananas were once a priced fruit in Denmark.

During the second world war they were completely absent from the market, and when the first banana boat arrived i November 1945 it was front page headline news. A sign that the war really was over.

No, I a, not old enough to have actually lived through that, but I remember my parents telling me about it. And I remember my father pointing out the huge warehouses that turned green bananas yellow.

All of this to say, bananas are kind of sacred to me: Even when they are old and brown you find a use for them. That is why I made some banana salt caramels a few days ago, I was afraid of wasting bananas.

And those caramels. Yes, there is both butter and cream in caramels but first and foremost there is sugar. So a caramel could be the sweet in an Old Fashioned. Right?

Laura from Sass & Gin have set this months challenge in Mixology Monday. She wants us to make the pater familias of cocktails, or as she puts it in her announcement post:

So, here's the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I'm challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!

I have previously mixed the Bananarac and know that banana and whiskey work together, but since Laura asked us to go to town I decided to change the base spirit. Behold the Bananas:

  • 4.5 cl Creme de Mezcal - I used Del Maguey
  • 0.75 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 2 homemade banana salt caramels - a dark simple syrup would work too.
  • 2 dashes of Eucalyptus bitter
Place the caramel in a shaker or stirring glass, add the banana liqueur and bitter and muddle a bit to get as much of the caramel dissolved in the liquid as you have patience for. The add remaining ingredients and stir with ice until well cold.

Strain into old fashioned glass over one big or two medium ice cubes. Garnish with a bit of fresh banana.

March 13, 2015

Winter Goodbye


Spring is in the air in Denmark, time to clear out the old winter greens and air out the house.

I'll leave the latter for later because right now I'm taking an early cocktail hour with a cocktail that completely surprises me.

Having looked at a gradually more sorry looking cauliflower in my fridge for a week with not devine inspiration for it's use I finally ran it through my juicer and got a vibrant, pale, milky juice with a very complex flavour.  It is both peppery, sweet and nutty.
 
I decided to mix it with summer flavours - since spring is the average of those two seasons ;) - and my old all season favorite: Gin.
  • 6 cl gin - I used Tarquin's
  • 0.75 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 1.5 cl lime
  • 3 cl fresh cauliflower juice
Add the ingredients to a shaker, fill with ice and shake hard. Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a slice of lime.

February 27, 2015

Coral Snake


Time for some blogloving - this cocktail is the work of JFL of Rated R cocktails.

Since I first saw the Coral Snake, I knew I wanted to make it, I also knew I wanted to change a single thing: The ratio of the coffee syrup to the cinnamon syrup. I am simply not a cinnamon person.

So here is my very slight twist on a masterful cocktail:
  • 4,5 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay
  • 1,5 cl over proof rum - I used Lemon Hart 151
  • 2 cl lime juice
  • 2 cl blood orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon white creme de cacao - I used Bols
  • 1,5 cl coffee syrup - (I cooked 0,5 dl sugar with 0,5 dl water and 1 teaspoon of good coffee, let it steep for 20 minutes, strained and cooled)
  • 0,75 cl cinnamon syrup - same technique as above 1 teaspoon good, ground cinnamon substituted for the coffee.
  • 1 dash orange bitter.
Shake with plenty of ice and pour into a tall glass, garnish with a snake cut from the rind of the orange - or a gummy snake.

Cheers JFL! 
(And next time I may just make it without the cinnamon syrup at all, the cocoa and coffee goes so well with the citrus and the rum - but that is just me the not-cinnamon person)

February 17, 2015

Smoky Martini


After a morning of literally hunting for a Tiki-village hidden in the woodlands just down the road I returned to discover Mixology Monday was..... yesterday.

Oh, the humanity! I thought it wasn't until next week but I did not panic, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for this most interesting of challenges, and only hope it is still Monday somewhere on the globe - preferably right around our gracious host Dagreb of NihilUtopia (just the best name for a boozeblog!).

Dagreb wanted us to make a: That's not quite a martini! Here are his thoughts:

A Telecaster’s not an Esquire. A Melody Maker’s not a Les Paul Jr. A Marauder ain’t a Crown Vic. A Blue Moon is no Martini… well, almost. Take away the dash to a quarter ounce of Creme Yvette and we’re left with gin (a must!), dry vermouth, and orange bitters. That’s a Martini! It’s at least one canonical Martini anyway. This month’s Mixology Monday theme is that which is almost, but not quite, a Martini. Perhaps there are dashes (or more) of a liqueur (or two) added to the basic structure. Perhaps a Fino Sherry (or other fortified/aromatized wine) is standing in for vermouth. Maybe there’s Oxygene instead of bitters? Gin, certainly! Use your imagination! Use your library! Make a Martini, that’s wearing a hat! 

For the first time in a very long time, I just wanted to make a tried and tested recipe - no improvement, no personal mark, just a nice Smoky Martini:

Since I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep (it's still not midday in Denmark) I made a small one:

  • 5 cl gin - I used a sample of Ophir - an orientally spiced gin.
  • 1 cl Ardbeg 10 y.o.
  • Dash of Bitter Truth celery bitters
  • a twist of blood orange peel
Stir gin, whiskey and bitters over ice, strain into nice glass and garnish with the twist (cut it over the cocktail, so the fragrance and oils hit the drink).

And the Tiki-village? Found it! Actually it's a small scale replica of a Balinese village, build in the 1930's by an eccentric millionaire in what was back the a very remote corner of this country. I imagine he had some lovely parties there.  Or perhaps not, it might just have been en ethnographic stunt.

I stopped and asked an elderly gentleman if he knew where it was, he had never heard of it in spite of having been connected to the area his whole life.  



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January 27, 2015

Round Up MxMo XCIII Blue

If for some reason you browser can't handle this go here for original. (Update Wednesday January 28th: New entries added at the bottom)