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 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......?

August 10, 2014

Flutterby Lassi

Recently a journalist asked me to explain, what makes a cocktail a classic.

The best comparison I could come up with was literature. A book becomes a classic when it newer leave the curriculum of everyday readers - when it stands the test of time. Same with a cocktail - if people keeps drinking it, it's a classic.

I do not however have any idea over what period of time this is measured - not with books, not with cocktails.

But we do talk about modern or almost instant classics like Audrey Saunder's Old Cuban and Sam Ross' Penicillin - Tom Walker's Maid in Cuba an absinthe/cucumber cocktail in it's own right have been described as a modern classic too.

Perhaps the Flutterby Lassi from the bar of one of London's smartest Indian Restaurants - Gymkhana - will become a classic.

If not I find it fits nicely the other two dairy based cocktails I have mixed this year: The Snowball and the Buttermilk Margarita. The later being much better than the first.

For the Flutterby I followed this recipe from the Guardian pretty close:
  • 2 cm of cucumber
  • 3 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 3,5 cl of Absinthe - I used Blanche de Fougerolles 74
  • 5 cl of yogurt - not the firm Greek style yogurt but a more runny kind
  • 2 cl of gomme syrup
  • 2 cl of lime juice - which is twice the amount of the recipe, but it tasted too sweet with just 1 cl
Start by cutting the peel of the cucumber - you need it for the garnish so using a peeler cut one long peel around the stump of cucumber.

Muddle the cucumber with 2 sprigs of dill, the lime juice and the gomme - this was where I decided to up the lime juice. Add absinthe and yogurt to shaker and shake well with ice.

Double strain into glass and then roll the last sprig of dill inside the cucumber peel and use that as a garnish.

July 24, 2014

Seven things I took away from TOTC

I notice that the trend in describing your adventures at Tales of The Cocktail this year is making lists.

Camper English lists eight things he learned and JFL of Rated R Cocktails lists seven tips from a TOTC virgin.

I will list the seven most heavily underscored notes from my notebook in the order I made them:

**Hand squeezed Lime**

The very first seminar I attended was the one I had looked the most forward to: The Floridita: Cradle of the Daiquiri presented by Jeff Berry and David Wondrich. They did not disappoint me.

In Copenhagen some years ago I had attended a seminar by Jörg Meyer about the cantineros of Cuba and the strong union they formed early on demanding 8 hour working days and publishing recipe books. Since then the Cuban bar scene during prohibition has been a subject I've been very interested in.

Delving into the life of one bar and especially it's famous customer Ernest Hemingway and it's - at least for TOTC attendees  - equally famous owner Constantino Ribalaigua Vert was just the thing.

Floridita, Hemingway and Vert can be summed up together in just one word: The Daiquiri. And that's what Berry and Wondrich did. And it was during this part of the presentation I put three solid lines under the words hand squeezed lime.

Jeff Berry explained how Victor Bergeron spent time watching Vert work before opening his Trader Vic bar and carefully noting measures and such. But in spite of this he could not get his Daiquiris to taste as good as the ones Vert mixed until he finally realized something: Vert did not use a Mexican elbow to squeeze the limes for his Daiquiris - he used his hands and that meant more of the essential oils from the fruits ended up in his drinks instead of in the squeezer.

I love this detail and plan to improve my Daiquiris accordingly.
**The Bradford**

Two dapper gents in evening wear at 1 o'clock on a Thursday, where but at TOTC would you meet seminar presenters like that.

Philip Greene and Simon Ford made a grand entry to the 007 theme and showed us a picture of the flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Some of us feared we had gone to the wrong seminar but Bottled in Bond was a tour through both the life of 007 and Ian Fleming and therefor the flying car made sense.

I did not expect anything overly exciting served during this seminar as 007's taste in drinks is pretty bad - except for his taste in Champagne of course - but I did walk away with a new name: A shaken martini is called a Bradford.

**What to take to a desert island**

Derek Brown, J.P. Featherstone and Wayne Curtis gave us a nice introduction to how booze made it’s way across the US and indeed the world in the seminar Jug of Empire.

One of the crucial questions asked and answered was what would you bring to an isolated island? Many types of survival kit was suggested, but a bottle of rum might just be the thing that will not only save you but make for smooth sailing in more than one way.

I also got my first taste of Apple Jack at the seminar but not my last.

**Osmotic Balance**

My favourite seminal at TOTC 2013 was by the Drunken Botanist Amy Stewart and Susan Morrison on growing you own booze.

This year Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller picked up the theme in Garden, Field & Forrest to Bottle and Glass.

Anyone who follows the two on their blog or Twitter knows they grow their own, and Anistatia Miller even declared it’s the last luxury left: To grow you own.

They had many good tips for using what you can pick for your cocktail, but the one I underlined was the one about osmotic Balance:

You need to extract the sugars from fruit before you add sugar when making fruit liqueur. The reason being, that natur aims for osmotic balance and ould push the sugar from outside into the fruit instead of drawing the sugar from the fruit into the booze.

Clever trick that can also be used in reverse to make sour fruit sweet.

**Spoon Cocktail**

In June I received with much anticipation Robert Simonsons book The Old-Fashioned and pretty much read it in one session. His seminar on the iconic cocktail was a given from the moment I saw the list of this years subjects.

It was an amazing interactive seminal where we got to mix our own cocktails - tasting gin, rum and whisky Old-Fashioneds side by side.

Mr. Simonson is a great - dry - presenter and I learned a lot. Not least that just around the corner from my hotel I could walk into SoBu Restaurant and order a spoon cocktail - one of the many modern takes on the oldest of all cocktails.

**Scrambled Eggs**

If Simon Ford and Philip Greene were dapper in the white and black evening jackets the tree gentlemen from The Savoy in London was just dapper period. Never have I seen that much perfect mens wear in New Orleans in such a small room.

The took us through 125 years of excellent service and wonderful bar lore.

My final underscoring was under the lovely tale of the Tom and Jerry cocktail.

Notoriously hard to make as it involves hot liquid and egg the segue to the anecdote was a Tales tasting cup of scrambled eggs.

A guest ordered the Tom Jerry from a junior bartender at the American Bar in the Savoy hotel many years ago. In stead of hanging on the young bartenders shoulder and reminding him to tale care the head bartender let him finish the drink and serve it, and then went by the guest for a look at the finished product.

The guest was struggling with a cup of scrambled eggs, the head bartender gently offered him an spoon and suggested, using it for the complimentary scrambled eggs while he waited for his cocktail.

I loved that story and all the other interesting facts about one of the worlds most famous bars.

July 22, 2014

Lemon Cherry Cachaca Smash

Leaving New Orleans was not easy this year. Even after one whole day of rain that city grows on you and Tales of The Cocktails is an amazing reason to visit.

Not even a long and bothersome journey home involving not one but two reroutings and a seven hour wait in Amsterdam could wipe smile off my face.

I even managed a friendly grimace while queuing to report my luggage missing. It still haven't turned up and it contains quite a few treasures and most of my summer wardrobe.

But I still have my little black note book with ideas, stories, interesting facts and overall impressions from four brilliant days of seminars, tastings and networking.

At the same time I came home to the Danish weather is outdoing itself with high temperatures and lots of sun.

While this place will never be the tropics tonight it is time for a tropical drink and as we are less than a week from Mixology Monday and the theme of The Smash I figured I would put a theory to the test that I developed on Friday in a ballroom at the Royal Sonesta Hotel while listening to Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller talking about the journey from garden, field and forrest to bottle and glass.

The two of them were advising against adding sugar to a bottle of booze with fruit when you want to make a liqueur. The reson being that natures aim for osmotic balance would push the sugar from outside into the fruit instead of drawing the sugar from the fruit into the booze.

In other words by disregarding their advice you can make sour fruits sweet.

So today about an hour before mixing my drink I peeled an lemon and broke it into bits in a bowl and the covered it with a lavender simple syrup.

Then I took the cue from a drink mixed by the guys from Duck and Cover Bar in Copenhagen they call Frederiksdal Fizz where a cachaca aged in cherry wood is mixed with cherry liqueur and seltzers and married it with my idea of sweet lemons:
  • 6 cl of cachaca aged in brazilian cherry wood - I used Germana's Caetano's cacha
  • 2 and a half slices of lavender syrup infused fresh lemon
  • 2 cl cherry liqueur - I used Frederiksdal New Nordic
  • Lemon soda - I used Pellegrino Lemonata
  • sprig of lavender 
  • Maraschino cherries - I used my own.
Muddle the lemon, the lavender flower petals and the cachaca in a shaker tin. Fill a tall glass halfway with crushed ice and add the content of the shaker, add more ice and the as much lemon soda as you want, top drink off with yet more ice and drizzle the cherry liqueur on top. (Boozy sno ball anyone?)

Add straws and garnish with a couple of marashino cherries.

July 6, 2014

Red Lady

I don't much like woodlands much - I live on the edge og a couple but always choose the open area with a horizon and a low landscape of heather between them.

It may be a childhood trauma - I was lost one evening in a pretty big and dark pine forest. Probably for at least 15 minutes. Enough to put me off pine trees for good.

So it's a testament to my love of gin that I walked into a pretty thick overgrown piece of pine woodland today in search of juniper mapped out in the center of the woodland.

I found exactly one tablespoonfull of ripe juniper berries. It took me at least 20 minutes and the puncture of every one of fingers to secure them Need I add that I did all this at noon on a very warm day? One saying needs to be altered: Only mad dogs and gin crazy women stay out in the noon day sun.

The whole area has the delightful name; Russia.  It's protected and in the center is a museum in honor of a quite famous Danish artist named Rudolph Tegner. Dotted around the landscape are some of his sculptures. All in all a quite magical places.

Especially when I came across two wild cherry trees with quite a few ripe berries on them - all begging to be picked.

Once home the junipers were smashed a bit and set to steep in vodka (yes I'm making gin tasting vodka) and the cherries were pitted and turned into cherry shrub - well actually just cooked with a bit of sugar, lemon juice and cherry vinegar until I was satisfied with the taste. Until I get Michael Dietsch's book on shrubs I don't know if I'm doing it right, as I never make huge batches meant to be preserved for any lenght of time.

I decided to look to the White Lady for a red version - and the only fitting name was Red Lady as the cherries were picked in Russia:
  • 3 cl cherry chrub
  • 3 cl Marashino
  • 5 cl gin - I used Tarquin's
  • egg white 
Add all ingredients to shaker and shake for 15 seconds without ice, then add ice and shake for another 15 seconds. Strain into cocktail coupe. 

I am pretty sure that most of my expert readers can tell from the picture I did not use enough egg white. The drink should have a strong, even white head. On top I intended to garnish with a tiny amount of black, Icelandic, carbon salt. But because I used too little (the rest was necessary for dinner and I only had one egg left) it sank to the bottom of the cocktail.

July 3, 2014

Buttermilk Margarita - and a cheeseball

Frankly I thought I had mixed my last cocktail with fresh milk back in April, when the Snow Ball seperated in front of my eyes and left me with a glass of violet colored minty curds. But then last night a gentleman I hold in high esteem blogged about a buttermilk margarita and I was hooked again.

Jörg Meyer owns the best bar I have ever had the pleasure of visiting: Le Lion in Hamburg. When my friend and I visited a couple of years ago we fell madly in admiration of bartender Mario Kappes. And it seems that Mr. Meyer have found another amazing bartender in Bettina Kupsa who is the creator of the Buttermilk Margarita.

This cocktail is everything the Snow Ball was not: Well balanced, pretty, surprising and a wholly new way to appreciate both tequila and the mighty Margarita.

The first sip reminded me of my first sip of a milk punch: Milk adds something to the taste of a drink that is so right yet so unidentifiable. And the sour note of the buttermilk picks up the lemon and lime perfectly in this cocktail. Well done.

I much followed the recipe as written except I only had silver tequila:
  • 6 cl tequila - I used Patron Silver
  • 3 cl buttermilk - I used organic non-homogenized and it did not split at any point
  • 2 cl lemon juice
  • 1 cl lime juice
  • 2 cl agave syrup (I probably used a good deal less mine was very thick)
  • 1 bar spoon quince jelly
All ingredients measured into a shaker and shaken with ice. Strain into a coupe.

And as a snack I made a pineapple cheeseball. A while ago I noticed a picture from Elena of Stir and Strain on Pinterest - it was a full sized pineapple molded out of cream cheese. I never know something like a cheese ball even existed so I explored further and found a large edition of the one I made today.

I used fresh cheese and goats cheese and probably ended up with a cheese ball not solid enough as the fresh pineapple I used added liquid too, but it turned out ok and would make a fun party snack.

June 21, 2014

Copenhagen Stick

The moment I saw that pineapple was the theme for this edition of Mixology Monday I knew I wanted to work with a childhood summer treat: Københavnerstang. (Literally meaning: Copenhagen Stick)

Bartending Notes challenges us with the mighty pineapple and even made us a sweet little pineapple MxMo-logo:

The idea is to: "...bring the king of fruits back! After being canned, mixed with all sorts of sugary liquids and blended into… some 80s dreadful cocktails, the pineapple needs more respect! Once a symbol of hospitality, the King of Fruits might be know misunderstood. One of the greatest non-citrus souring agents, used for crazy garnish ideas, infusions, old gum syrup flavoring, the pineapple is a fruit to be reckoned. Be in a tiki cocktails, an old school classic like the Algonquin, a crazy flavor pairing or just mixed in a delicious Verdita, get creative and make a cocktail using any part of this delicious, juicy fruit or share you favorite pineapple cocktail with us!"

Since sometimes in the 50's the major ice cream company in Denmark have produced an ice cream lolly with a center of vanilla ice cream center and then a thin layer of pineapple sorbet on the outside. The wrapper is decorated with drawing from Copenhagen and Tivoli - the amusementpark in the city center all befitting the name Københavnerstang.

There is nothing gourmet or New Nordic about it - it's most likely made from margarine, fake vanilla and artificial pineapple, but I've always liked it.

In other to recreate it in a glass I had to decide on a base spirit. I do believe Danish bars since back in the 80'ies have made one with vodka and overly sweet pineapple juice. But that's not what I wanted.

So I decided to go with Del Maguey's Crème de Mezcal, it has a little smoke from the mezcal and added sweetness, the vanilla I introduced by way of Galliano and then I mixed a little lemon juice into the pineapple juice to balance out all the sweetess. It workes well and would make a lovely summer dessert cocktail.
  • 4,5 cl Creme de Mezcal
  • 6 cl pineapple juice (I just put chunks of a pineapple in food processor and strained the juice of)
  • 2 cl Galliano
  • 1,5 cl lemon juice
Measure everything into a shaker, add ice and shake well. The pineapple juice will give you cocktail a lovely head of white foam.

And then since I couldn't find a place close by selling the original ice cream lolly (it's mostly enjoyed by old folks like me) I crochet one as a garnish. (jump past photo for instructions:)

Round 1: Using yellow cotton yarn sc 6 in magic ring (6)
Round 2: 2 scs in each st around (12)
Round 3 : * sc in next st , 2 scs in next st *. Repeat from * around (18)
Round 4: * sc in next 2 sts , 2 scs in next st * . Repeat from * around (24)
Round 5-Round 8: sc  in each st around
Round 9-Round 10: sc in each st around using off white cotton yarn

June 6, 2014

Rhubarb Negroni - Negroni Week 2014

Discussing Negroni Week with a coworker yesterday quickly saw us googling and stumbling across a rhubarb Negroni. Since I love all things rhubarb and especially the bright red stalks I can pull out of my own garden the name alone had me decided.

Then it turned out, that the cocktail contains Zucca an Italian Rhubarb Amaro not in my home bar end a trip to an Italian shop in an obscure part of the Copenhagen harbor was planned for today after work.

I will not try to portrait my self as any kind of connoisseur but to me Supermarco appears to be a perfect slice of Italy quite a few degrees North. It's a pretty basic shop but every where you look, there a things you want to smell, taste, touch and buy.

Several shelves are dedicated to amari and stronger stuff in the large wine department. So not only did I buy Zucca, I also bought amaretto, Strega and a new bottle of Maraschino.

I promptly tasted my new purchase - that is the Zucca - and decided it indeed deserved to be mixed with good gin and red vermouth. It's an even darker reddish brown than the vermouth and it has a very complex earthy flavor. Quite far from the original Negroni ingredient of Campari with it's medicinal flavor.

So to mixing - I simply used the measurements from this blogpost:
  • 4 cl gin - I used Tanqueray
  • 3 cl red vermouth - I used Martini Rosso
  • 2 cl Zucca
I measured the ingredients over a big ice cube in a low ball glass and stirred until properly chilled and then simply garnish with a twist of lemon.

It's a very satisfying and appetite inducing cocktail - leaning towards liquid Marmite or stock cubes.

June 1, 2014

Idiosyncratic Certitudes And a McKittrick Old Fashioned

Until this morning I never knew there was a term as delicious as idiosyncratic certitudes (there is nothing like it in Danish).

But then I started reading Robert Simonson's book The Old-Fashioned and came across the term when the author discusses a particular description of making an old-fashioned cocktail from The New York Sun in 1890.

The journalist from the Sun states, that only a pestle made of white cedar should be used to gently crush a sugar cube soaked in bitters. It is this certainty that Simonson calls idiosyncratic - and as he points out characteristic of drinkers and drink makers alike.

That's when I knew I really loved the book. I had an inkling when I ordered it, but being a Ginhound a whole book about one whiskey based drink would perhaps not be the most obvious choice. Simonson makes it a very easy and fun choice - the book is a joy from cover to cover and made me long to go to my bar cart to mix a drink, but more about that later.

I tried to rank my five favorite cocktail books last september. The moment I did that, I knew I had made a mistake. Much like when newspapers runs articles about the death of the worlds oldest person. Even before the article is published - it's incorrect and old news. Someone else has filled the slot. The king is dead, long live the king.

So I'm not going to rank Simonson's book into that system - I'm just going to include it here, when I write a little about four other books about booze I've read lately.

I wasn't sure that I would really like Kayleigh Kulp's Booze for Babes - mainly because I myself really don't like to be lumped into a segregated group of drinkers based on something I can't change.

On the other hand what I observe when talking about my passion for cocktails with co-workers are that many women have very set ideas about what they don't like and are quite unwilling to challenge these ideas. Some of the ideas seem to be rooted in what they consider feminine.

Which makes it hard when they say: I wish I could make cocktails like you, but I don't know where to start. I want to say: Start by not restricting yourself, but I know it won't go down well.

Booze for Babes is a much better start, with some sound advice and it really covers a lot of ground.

And personally I've taken the "do not restrict yourself" to heart. I thought I didn't like punch - tried some last summer liked it - and have enjoyed David Wondrich's book on the subject.

Punch is the kind of book that makes you feel more and more clever as you turn each page. Wondrich dazzles with his scholarship and manages to pass his knowledge on with effortless style. Even the part of the book that lists punches to make and try is a good read, because the author shares his own tricks and tips to working with these very old recipes in a world several hundred years removed from when they were written.

I find quite a bit of the same scholarship in Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean. Where he admits that he had been swimming in the wrong ocean at the start of his fascination with all things Tiki.

It can not have been an easy book to write. The history of rum is not nearly as nice as a Mai Tai made right. Slavery, genocide and every grisly injustice know to man is mixed in there.

Berry runs the risk of horrifying the reader with too many details or casting himself as heartless if he does not include enough. He walks that tightrope just right.

On top of Berry's excellent writing this is also a really pretty book with lot's of interesting illustrations from everything from the old masters to tourist brochures.

The fourth book I will mention is actually the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. Schiller's Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection* is a handy collection of four books: One is a quick guide to bartending, one covers some of the Classic Cocktails, one Artisanal Updates and one covers Seasonal Drinks. I like the whole look and feel of the little set - they are almost pocket guides - and the guide is very well illustrated with easy to follow instructions.

However as a reader the Artisanal Updates is a pretty baffling read - I suspect unless you have visited the bar - with a little too many martinis and not too many drinks that grab this readers attention.

And I wonder why you would sort drinks into a book titled Seasonal Drinks and then not clearly mark the seasons to help the reader figure out which to serve at what time of year.

And dare I say - a classic collection without an old-fashioned but including a Moscow Mule is a bit of a surprise to me. I do realize packing the whole library of classics onto less than 100 small pages including photos involves heavy editing, but still. Not least because there is room for another five martinis.

So if I can't find an old-fashioned in the Schiller's Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection, I can make one myself.

Reading through the recipe section of Robert Simonson's book I noticed a McKittrick Old-Fashioned. And that particular drink have two things going for it: One it's named in honor of the play Sleep No More that I was fortunate enough to see two years ago in New York during a reunion with members of a family who were my host family when I was an exchange student in the US in 1977-78.

And the other plus was that the cocktail contains no lump of sugar to be muddled. I would hate to run afoul of Simonson's own idiosyncratic certainty when he advises that a hand-crafted Pug-muddler from New York State is the best there is.

I only have two cheep liquor company souvenirs and a horrible mix of steel and lime green plastic.

So on with the McKittrick:
  • 6 cl bourbon - I used WL Weller 12 yo
  • 1,5 cl sherry - I used Amontillado
  • bitters - I used Peychaud's - mainly because I'm out of Mole
  • 2 brandied cherries - I used home made
I put the bourbon and the sherry in a whiskey glass with a big cube of ice and stirred 50 times, then added the bitters and garnished with the cherries.


* Disclosure: This box set was sent to me by the publishers.

May 29, 2014

Nordic Daiquiri

Last night I visited one of the most interesting new bars in Copenhagen at the moment: 1656.

It is the kid brother of 1105 in the city center and the two share a love of working with seasonal ingredients.

Three of us had a very nice evening and tasted quite a few of their creations.

One of the cocktails that had us guessing and deconstructing was called a Nordic Daiquiri*. It involved rum, rhubarb compote, raw licorice and lime juice.

I was a bit surprised that it was not pink in any way - more greenish brown and my friend and I discussed that point at length.

Apparently I've been fortunate in that the rhubarbs my garden provides does not loose their color as they are cooked and perhaps the use more licorice that I did at 1656 because my compote was pink as I tried to recreate the cocktail today.

I started by cooking 280 grams of rhubarb with 120 grams of sugar, juice of one and a half lemon and 2 dl of water for 7-10 minutes. I the strained the cordial of and added a small teaspoon of licorice to the pulp. Both were put in the fridge to cool.
  • 6 cl rum - I used white - Plantation 3 Star - but golden rum would work too.
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • 2 cl rhubarb cordial
  • 2 tablespoonfuls rhubarb compote
Measure everything into a shaker and shake hard with ice. You need to break up the compote. Strain cocktail into coupe and garnish with a sprinkle of raw licorice and a piece of raw rhubarb.

* I personally would have given this cocktail a different name.While I understand why businesses are keen to jump on the new Nordic wave a drink containing rum, licorice and lime is stretching the brand a bit too far in my opinion.  

May 19, 2014

The Nut Job

I wonder how many entries to this month's MxMo will be called the nut job. Mixing over a theme of nuts is not nearly as easy as it sounded at first.

And I have been looking far and wide: At Marzipan Liqueur, at home made nut syrup Orgeat style and everywhere in between.

And then I have been quite envious of several peanut butter based cocktails - I've come across lately including this and this. And that would be perfectly in sync with what inspired our gracious host, Elana of Stir and Strain, who writes in her announcement post:
Nuts? Yes! A few months back I tried, and was wowed by, a peanut-y take on an Old Fashioned at a bar here in L.A. They had infused peanuts in bourbon and with a touch of honey had made magic. Nuts of all sorts make it into cocktails now. Some black walnut bitters here, the sweet almond flavor of orgeat there… circus peanuts. Your challenge is to utilize nuts (and since we’re NOT adhering to the strict rules of what are nuts, peanuts and walnuts both count) in any way you see fit to create a cocktail. Infusions, bitters, almond tinctures are all game. Amaretto, homemade nocino, Frangelico too. Go nuts!

At the end of the day - I ended up with the European answer to peanut butter: Hazelnut cocoa spread also know as Nutella.

For those who have never heard of Nutella - BBC has a nice overview. I have really never really liked the stuff - when I was a kid an alternative was to get a thin slice of dark chocolate on a slice of rye bread and I preferred that. But I prayed for an alchemical transformation when booze was introduced to the equation.
  • 4,5 cl bourbon - I used Bulleit
  • 0,5 cl Maraschino
  • 6 cl orange juice
  • Table spoon Nutella
  • orange bitters
I started by stirring the Nutella into the orange juice - unless it's heated I do not believe it is possible to liquefy it completely. The I strained the chocolately juice into a shaker with the bourbon, Maraschino and bitters and gave it a good strong shake and double strained into a glass.

I'm pleased that it didn't separate before I finished the drink, and I can see it served as a dessert cocktail. Sort of a cross between Drambuie and Baileys without the dairy.

But the chocolate completely overpowers the hazelnut that is somewhat present in a spoon full of Nutella by itself. So in the end I did not really succeed in making a good nutty cocktail. But I did have fun.

May 16, 2014

Lavender Negroni

Having followed Manhatten Cocktail Classic through blogs, mail and updates from a friend who participated I found myself attracted to the concept of a Lavender Negroni.

It certainly looks pretty and I find the idea of the very umami taste of a Negroni mixed with the very floral taste of lavender intriguing. And I'm not the only one.

So I looked for the recipe - and checked my bitters cabinet for lavender bitter. I have a lovely bottle of Scrappy's that I picked up at Tales of the Cocktail last year I believe.

On closer inspection: I've not used it before - the bottle was unopened, but tasting it in a glass of water to figure out what else it could be used for I fell in love with the taste. It really does taste like sitting on my patio on a summer evening with the smell of lavender on the air, as cats and the wind agitates the plants.

And after cutting onions or handling smoked fish nothing is more effective than running your clean hands through the plants.

A little more research on Scrappy's let me to Bartender Journey - a treasure trove of great podcasts - where founder Miles Thomas talked about his bitters and bitters in general.

(If you have the time you should also listen to the interview with Jörg Meyer - the proprietor of my favorite bar in the world Le Lion and another bar in Hamburg.)

Meyer has some very interesting points about hiring bartenders for their kindness and social skill - and of course absolutely expect them to mix excellent cocktails. His point is, that you can train a smart person to make excellent cocktails but you can't train a person to be kind or socially skilled.

That approach to bar management is what sets Le Lion apart for me. And why I can't wait to make a second visit.

So I had the bitters, vermouth and Campari was chilling in the fridge. Now for the gin. Recently I bought a new British gin, distilled in Cornwall: Tarquin's Gin made by Southwestern Distillery. It's leaning towards the floral spectrum of gins without loosing the basic juniper taste that is the key to a good Negroni. Tarquin's taste like a labour of love, and judging by this little film it is.

So off to mix....
  • 5 cl gin - I used Tarquin's
  • 5 cl red vermouth - I used Martini Rosso
  • 5 cl Campari
  • Lavender Bitter - I used Scrappy's
Measure the first three ingredients into a stirring glass, add plenty of ice and stir until very cold. Usind a spray bottle - I picked up a really cheap perfume spray bottle at the dollar store - spray lavender bitter into an Old Fashioned glass or another low glass, add a huge ice cube and strain cocktail over it.

Spray a little bitter across the top of the drink too and garnish with a sprig of lavender.

As my lavender is not yet in bloom (remember I live on the 56th parallel) I used the only little purple flower I could find: A sprig of chives cheerfully blooming between my neglected patio stones. My garden seems to run on this principle: Whatever I plant dies, whatever plants itself thrives.

But since I'm happy to report, that this is a winner, I'm sure I'll get to garnish a Lavender Negroni with lavender at a later date. Can't wait and I'll make it with Tarquin's again it works very well.

May 9, 2014

Tøppe aka the ESC

Tomorrow Denmark hosts the Eurovision Song Contest. One of those cultural events that makes the rest of the world feel as much out of the loop as Superbowl does most Europeans.

Basically it's just a huge music show where viewers from all the participating countries - more than 25 - root for their favorites and national juries award points that will determine the final winner.  A process that opens hostility between many other wise closely related countries.

The competition is more than 50 years old and the most watched show in Europe every year. Some call the show Gay Christmas - and this year one of the favorites and a contestant Putin would hate to see win is a drag with a full beard.

Concita Wurst have drawn some ugly comments from other contestants - but this is a song contest and sing is what she does.

One of my coworkers is the Danish commentator for the show, his name is Ole Tøpholm otherwise know as Tøbbe.

He has had some voice problems the last couple of days - so I figure a cocktail will help him to be fit for the job tomorrow.

I've taken a huge cue from one of my own favorites - the Mai Tai - and another favorite rhubarb.
  • 6 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay XO
  • 3 cl banana liqueur - Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 1,5 cl orgreat
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • rhubarb cordial
Put the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Put one half of the spent lime in a tall glass with ice and strain the content of the shaker over it, top off with the rhubarb cordial. For the party vibe it needs a straw and a cocktail stick.

May 5, 2014


Yes it is Cinco de Mayo - a day to remember a Mexican victory over a far larger French army in 1862.

A day commemorated by lots of Mexican food and drink - judging from food and drinks blogs in my newsfeed.

However in my home country May 5th is also a pretty special day.

69 years ago today Denmarks saw it's first day in liberty after the German occupation from 1940-45.

May 4th the German Army surrendered to General Montgomery.

A song written not long after May 5th 1945 describes that first morning in freedom, as a morning like many others and not like any morning in a 1.000 years.

The German occupation is the only time Denmark has ever been occupied by a foreign power.

So in honor of both these occasions I have mixed a cocktail taking it's name from the Roman Goddess in charge of red skies in the morning.
  • 5 cl Mezcal - I used Ilegal Joven
  • 1,5 cl pineapple syrup (recipe here)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 10 blueberries
  • Bitter Lemon
Muddle two of the sage leaves with the blueberries in the syrup in a tall glass add the Mezcal and a couple of large ice cubes and stir until very cold, top off with the Bitter Lemon and garish with the last sage leaf. 

May 4, 2014

Bananarac - books and bananas

I am looking at my cocktail book library with new eyes - and ears. That might lead to a new post on cocktail books - my old one still gets a surprising amount of traffic.

For mind numbingly boring garden/house maintenance work this morning, I revisited The Hour - a cocktail manifesto by Bernard DeVoto.

That is, I plucked stinging needle out of the ground, and washed garden furniture to my audiobook of that particular text. As it only runs about an hour and 50 minutes, that seemed like a doable trade off between menial labour and pleasure.

I do wish it was actually Bernard himself reading his text, but the gentleman who does the honors have a nice voice and a calming tempo.

However the words of the manifesto itself are so loaded, that it's impossible to know, just from listening to then, if Bernard was a twat or the greatest satirical write of his time.

I suspect the truth is not so black and withe and chuckle at faith.

Bernard DeVoto did not like cookbooks. He especially disliked the Beverage section of cookbooks:

As I have shown, the basic idea was to see how many ingredients you could put into a drink, especially a cocktail, and still survive. Year by year, that mania of our national adolescence killed more Americans than smallpox, the Colt revolver, or the Indian. Yet publishers go on endorsing the same toxins to more than a million women a year.

Bernard DeVoto is in some circles today only know as the husband of Avis DeVoto, who helped Julia Child and her two French co-developers get their Mastering the Art of French Cooking - the ultimate cookbook - published. And Avis DeVoto then went on to become the greatest cookbook scout of all times, after Bernard's early death.

He would have loved it, I suspect.

And so to honor him, I decided to mix a drink, that he would have hated. The Bananarac.

A twist on the Sazerac which is a twist on the Old Fashioned, and since he abhorred sweet drinks and just barely tolerated The Old Fashioned adding banana liqueur would have enraged him.

But I'm just too happy that I have finally found a decent banana liqueur that is neither glow in the dark yellow or smells nauseously artificial, to let that stop me.

Giffard Banane du Bresil is the real stuff: Macerated bananas and cognac.

  • 3 cl rye whiskey - I used Old Overholt
  • 3 cl cognac - I used Pierre Ferrand 1840
  • 1,5 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 0,5 barspoon simple syrup
  • Dash Angostura
  • Absinthe

Stir the first five ingredients in a mixing glass or tin with ice until very cold, spray absinthe in a rocks glass, pour cocktail over big ice cube.  

May 3, 2014

Pineapple Julep

Derby Day is largely ignored in Denmark.

We do have a race course but the interest in horse racing is not very big, so I can't tell you when it's Derby Day in Klampenborg.

I can however tell you when it's Derby Day in Kentucky: That is when all the cocktail websites over flow with recipes for Mint - and other - Juleps.

This year my tastbuds took notice when a bourbon based Pineapple served at Julie Rainer's Clover Club Bar in Brooklyn was mentioned.

But I have not been able to find a recipe - just the telegram-style description on the cocktail menu, and that is not a lot to go on.

Since I had a whole pineapple to play with I figured I would make pineapple sirup two different ways.

Half the fruit was chopped into chunks and placed in a covered bowl with 2 dl white suger. 24 hours later I could pour off about 2 cl liquid. It was fresh, sweet, still tangy and very pinapply but with a tiny crunch of undissolved sugar.

The other half I blended and then pressed all juice out of the pulp, added an equal measure sugar to the juice and brought it to a boil. This was very sweet and dessert-like.

The first option is my faborit and what I used for my final drink:

  • 6 cl bourbon - I used the work horse Bulleit
  • 1,5 cl pineapple sirup
  • bunch of mint (my garden mint is not at full grow yet so I couldn't pick as much as I wanted)
  • Crushed ice
Add most of the mint and sirup to a julep cup. Muddle gently and then add bourbon and fill the cup about half way with ice. Stir until cup is very cold and then pack ice to a dome about the rind of the cup. Garnish with mint and some pineapple leafs.

April 25, 2014

Hanky Spanky Panky

Ada Coleman is one of my heroes - the first famous female bartender in the world (until someone identifies a predecessor - because as we all know cocktail history can change with the turn (up) of an old photo).

At the moment though she is the great foremother. I love this picture of her (yes it's posed and all that, but there is a certain warmth in her tiny smile, that I adore.)

And let us not forget the cocktail she is remembered for: The Hanky Panky - it's actually hard to forget it once you have tasted it, it's one of those hate or love cocktails. I love it, actually way more than I thought I would - truth be told sweet vermouth taste a tiny bit like soup cubes to me, but once Fernet enters the equation all is well.

So I took notice when Jarred Brown and Sipsmith described a new take on the old classic - The Spanky Panky Martini. The addition of mint intrigued me and it was an easy choice for my much anticipated Friday cocktail - the one that recalibrate me to weekend mode.

But before mixing I fact checked something I have been telling a few people taking about Ada Coleman lately: That Harry Craddock didn't just wiz in from - perhaps - shaking the last cocktail in the USA before prohibition and naturally assumed the position as head bartender at the American Bar in the Savoy hotel in London.

He advanced when the management of the Savoy listened to American customers and retired both Ada Coleman and Ruth Burgess in 1925 because Americans was uncomfortable with women working in bars.

So, what is my source? The very same Jarred Brown - I own the signed number 149 edition of his and Anistatia Miller's: The Deans Of Drink - and it's here I've read this version of how Ada Colemans job as head bartender ended.

Ruminating on the unfairness of the action towards the two women I vigorously shook the Hanky Panky with added mint:
  • 5 cl gin
  • 5 cl red vermouth
  • 1 cl Fernet Branca (yes I love Fernet)
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
Put at least 7 mint leaves in a shaker and add the other ingredients, shake over ice and double strain into a coupe and garnish with the remainder of the mint leaves. But remember to wake them up by placing them on your palm and then deliver one firm slap.

And Ada? She was transfered to the flower shop at the Savoy. She was even gracious enough to say in an interview: I missed all my friends too much if I had retired at once, so I've come to work among the flowers, and already instead of mixing cocktails for my friends, I've been making buttonholes for them.

One firm slap, indeed!

April 21, 2014

The Collie

I like a good medicinal taste to my drinks - anything with a hint of iodine and/or the antiseptic whiff of a good bandage makes me happy.

By accident my contribution to this months Mixology Monday lands firmly in the cleaning cupboard group of drinks - the Collie taste like something that could clean out a dusty old room right quick.

But first read what Scott of Shake, Stir & Sip have to say about his chosen theme of Temperance:
While many of us today think of overly sweet and unimaginative uses of fruit juice combinations when we hear of nonalcoholic beverages, there is a growing resurgence and movement of creating real craft “mocktails” in cocktail bars around the world… As such, this month’s theme challenges you to create unique craft “mocktails” only limited by your imagination.  Perhaps you have an abundance of that homemade lavender syrup sitting in your fridge?  Maybe you’ve been thinking about creating a non-alcoholic version of your favorite cocktail.  Or maybe you just wanted an excuse to mix up an Angostura Phosphate you saw in Imbibe.  Oh yes, non-potable bitters are fair game here since they are legally classified as nonalcoholic in the states.  However, if the Teetotalist inside of you won’t allow it, you can go without them.  Cheers!
Truth be told I've never tried my hand at mocktails before - and I'm glad I didn't have to serve The Collie for unsuspecting guest. I does however grow on me as I drink and write.

I wanted to start out from a platform of the Indian yogurt drink called Lassi  - and started by ruling mangos out, the fruits available at this time of year in Denmark are rock hard and taste like imported apples.

I looked at my fruit basket and saw a grapefruit and appointed that star of my creation. The name? Well it springs from a childhood book about a certain dog almost named Lassi.
  • 2,5 dl ice
  • 1 dl plain greek yogurt
  • The flesh of half a red grapefruit - handle it over the blender not to waste any juice
  • 1 dl ginger beer
  • 3 cl violet syrup
Put the ice, yogurt and grapefruit in the blender jar and pulse until the ice is brushed. Add the ginger beer and pulse a few times - don't let the blender kill the fizz from the ginger beer.

Pour into Collins glass - add the violet syrup that will settle on the bottom ready to be agitated by a straw and garish with some kind of purple flower.

April 18, 2014

Snow Ball

Of all the strange concoctions I have measured into a shaker the Snow Ball from the reprint of the 1935 edition of the Bar La Florida Cocktails wins hands down.

It's a mix of gin, creme de menthe, Parfait Amour and milk. Even stranger is the fact that the measurements are given as 1/3 each - not one third of an ounce or anything like that, so I just went with equal measures and hoped the creme de menthe would not overpower the other three ingredients.

It did but since I used the aptly named and super tasting glacial Creme De Menthe from Tempus Fugit it seemed fitting for a snowball or even a snow ball.

I do think that the milk to some extent pulls the drink together - both visually and taste wise. But the milk is also the weak point of the drink.

For the briefest moment in time - long enough to snap a picture thankfully - the drink looked drinkable but a short while later the booze split the milk leaving a translucent liquid in the bottom of the glass and curds on top.

I have few food hang ups and drank it regardless but it would be a disaster at a party or in a bar, so I wonder how they managed at El Foridita in Havana in 1935.

The milk I used was organic whole milk, perhaps a more processed milk will hold up better?
  • 1,5 cl gin
  • 1,5 cl creme de menthe
  • 1,5 cl parfait amour (I used Bitter Truth creme de violette - and I do know that Bols claims parfait amour is a purple curacao)
  • 1,5 cl milk
Shake everything over ice and strain into small glass - Nick and Nora type is good and just be thank full that this is a very tiny cocktail.

April 11, 2014

Colonial Gin and Tonic

I must admit Gin & Tonic is not a drink I fix myself often anymore. There are so many other cocktails and drinks I haven't tried yet, so I will rather spend my "booze budget" on them than the old familiar.

And I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about the amount of alcohol I allow myself to drink during a month. If I don't keep a tight budget one drink too easily leads to another and that is rarely a good thing.

Gin and Tonic and I have to some extend grown apart - I often find the taste a bit one dimensional.

Perhaps because I neglect to mix it with the same care I put into other drinks?

This Wednesday was international Gin and Tonic day however and Hendriks rekindled some of my old love by sending me a very nice little package. I couldn't resist and had a rare mid-week libation.

During my gentle gin-buzz I searched the interwebs for some good G&T-videos and found this, that shows how the reigning worlds best bartender Davis Rios mixes a 'gintonic' Spanish style.

A video that had me planning a fantasy trip to Barcelona for  amazing G&T's, including a visit to 41 Degrees for cocktails and bar foods the Adria way set to music.

And since the trips is all in my mind anyway why not visit Heston Blumenthal on the way home and taste one of his cucumber infused gin and tonics?

For some mysterious reason (clever product placement by spirits giants who have managed to turn the international gin and tonic day into booze lovers Mother's day, perhaps?) that very same day Gin Foundry's post about the Colonial Gin and Tonic popped up in my twitter-feed and I knew I had to mix it - actually cook it.

And what better time to do that than today?

I only tweaked it a little tiny bit.

Tonic reduction:
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 12 coriander seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • The peel of one lemon and a quarter of a pink grapefruit
  • 4 thick slices of cucumber
  • 0.5 liter Fever Tree Indian Tonic
Put everything put the tonic in a heavy pot and crush it together with a pestle, add the tonic and cook for 15 minutes on a gently rolling boil. This will reduce the liquid to  0.30 liter - it will be very bitter, and I ended up adding a little simple syrup before I bottled it. I can't tell you how much, I just added a bar spoon at a time until it was to my taste.

After a quick trip to the freezer to cool the tonic down (well the tonic took the quick trip) I was ready to mix:
  • 6 cl Old English Gin - apart from the fact that I love this gin I figure it's closer to the gin used in the first G&T's.
  • 3 cl Tonic reduction
  • 1 cl lemon juice
  • Dash of rose tincture
  • 3 dashes angostura bitter
Everything in a shaker with ice and shake hard.

Then I have two suggestions:  Either strain into a icy cold stem glass - (use the winning method at the bottom of this post for quick cooling (and to find use for any cheap vodka in your bar)).

Or - and this is the path I chose - strain into a glass full of ice and some garnish - and top it off with a bit of Pellegrino Tonic Water for fizz and tonic balance.

Finally go here and stare at a must have G&T drinking vessel.

(Contrary to what it may look like, the only sponsored part of this post was the G&T box from Henricks on Wednesday - the rest is just the result of my love of name-dropping)

March 23, 2014

Spring has Sprung - MxMo

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday is a great one. Craig of A World of Drinks wants us to work with preserves. Or as he writes in his annoncement post:
The aim of the challenge is to go back to the days of the preserve, pick an ingredient, seasonal or not and treat it as if you won’t be seeing it again for quite some time. Syrups, sorbets, jam, shrubs and the like are all fair game, anything that will preserve the integral character of your favourite ingredient.
My absolutely only problem with it, is that there are very few fresh ingredients in this part of the world worth preserving at this time of year. However I did manage to lay my hands on three stalks of early and costly rhubarbs.

I've done quite a bit of mixing with rhubarb previously, like Rhubarb Rum Fizz, Balmy Rhubarb and Rhubarb Club but I realized I had never mixed it with aquavit.

So I started out by chopping the rhubarbs into pieces and adding them to a pan with some lemon juice, ground cardamom, whole black peppercorns, brown sugar, water and some vanilla.

The vanilla was what was available after turning a pod into a vanilla straw using this method from a video, I can't find anymore.

Once the rhubarb cordial was cooked, passed through a sieve and cooled off I was ready to mix:
  • 6 cl aquavit - I used Brøndum which is not that heavy on caraway but it's there
  • 1 cl Galliano 
  • 10 cl rhubarb cordial
Shake the ingredients over ice and then strain the cocktail into a double old fashioned glass over a huge ice cube. Serve with a natural vanilla straw.

March 7, 2014


A cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail I have been wanting to try out for a while. Basically since I read the comment: It will either cure Rattlesnake bite, or kill Rattlesnakes, or make you see them.

Since my unfortunate incident with too much lemon juice from test drinking two Penicillin cocktails prior to the last Mixology Monday I have been wanting to get back in the sour saddle.

The Rattlesnake while a sour is not that heavy on the lemon and since I had a hankering for Bananas Foster Beignets I figures they would act as great props: The spawn of the rattlesnake.

On top of all that the last couple of days a bizarre snake story has been unfolding in the Danish media. A many in a tiny village who had been asked to look after a mates considerable snake collection got fed up and started leaving the snakes - all constrictors - - in plastic containers in front of peoples houses during the night.

So far four of the five he has treated cruelly considering it's close to freezing at night have turned up.

They all looked dead when they were found, but a local snake rescue have manage to nurse them back to life. The owner was quoted on trying to warm one of them up on his warm belly. 

In honor of this guy I mixed myself a Rattlesnake.

The cocktail is actually very nice - a mix between a Sazerac and a Whiskey Sour.  It's surprisingly well balanced and so far the lemon has given me no trouble - perhaps the two beignets are to thank for that.
  • 5 cl rye whiskey - I used Old Overholt.
  • 1 cl lemon juice
  • 0.5 cl simple syrup
  • 1 egg white from a small egg
  • A spiff of Absinthe
Add the whiskey, lemon juice, egg white and simple syrup to a shaker and shake hard and long. Then add ice and shake hard again. Add a huge ice cube to a rocks glass coated with absinthe and then strain the cocktail over the ice. Garnish with a snake of lemon peel.

And the Bananas Foster Beignets? I followed this recipe - as I wanted them for a snack with the drink I did not make the Creme Anglaise but for a dessert that would be perfect - perhaps with a scoop of ice cream too.