August 26, 2013

Harvey Bonghead

This morning I took a catch up tour on Small Screen Networks many lovely presentations and I came across Jamie Boudreau's video How to Smoke a Cocktail that I have somehow missed previously. 

Also as I had found one of the most intriguing entries to the latest Mixology Monday was Feu de Vie's Wind Whisperer I figured the cocktails gods were trying to tell me something: Get smoking

I settled on building something from bourbon, rum, Galliano, lemon, rose tincture and burning Earl Gray tea.

As a gear junkie my first impulse was to buy a smoke gun, but I took a cue from Kate's solution and my bank manager thanks you for that.

So method was mostly inspired by Kate and drink mostly from Jamie Boudreau and the name is thanks to expert marketing of the Galliano company.

First set up your cocktail ready to shake:
  • 4 cl bourbon - I used Bulleit
  • 4 cl rum - not too sweet I used Barbancourt 3 star
  • 1,5 cl Galliano
  • 1,5 cl lemon juice
  • 5 drops rose tincture
Next find a way to burn some Early Gray tea leaves and collect the smoke. Not knowing what to expect smoking and smell wise I set it up on my little grill: A piece of aluminum foil shaped into a little tray, a broken wooden chopstick on two sides of a small pile of Earl Gray tea leaves, an upside down funnel to direct the smoke into an inverted glass bottle.

It worked well and once I had a bottle full of smoke, I corked it and brought it into my kitchen where I gave the cocktail a good shake with ice and strained it into the smoke bottle before pouring it into a coupe and garnishing with a pretty flower. I figured bongheads were into flowers back in the day, weren't they? I can't remember.

August 23, 2013

In the Drink

Just to prove that I do have other interests besides all things booze, I want to post my first series of photos with tiny people.

I'm certainly no Boffoli, William Kass or Slinkachu and I just use my iPhone.

But it is quite fun to think these dioramas up and even setting them up.


Disclaimer: No gin, ice, Maraschino cherries, lime, mint, rum or sugar was hurt during the photo shoot. 

August 21, 2013

Fire Engine with Lights Flashing

I was a little pressed for time on Monday, as the deadline for this month's Mixology Monday approached, and I did not find time to mix my runner up cocktail.

Then today as I noticed my raspberry bush was almost bend to the ground with ripe berries I knew what a great start to my little midweek weekend would be: A Fire Engine.

In Denmark it's a quintessential 80's, dark age of mixology-type drink.

Danish kids have been served Red Soda or Hindbærbrus - a horrible artificial raspberry soda pop - since before I was born.

In the 80's someone figured the taste was strong enough to mask even the cheapest vodka and the Fire Engine was born.

At some point someone wanted to get drunk faster and added Jägermeister and came up with the name Fire Engine with Lights Flashing.

I figured this drink could be salvaged by decent ingredients, so I started by making fresh raspberry cordial.

I make the stuff as old school as possible: Equal amount of berries and water, and half the amount of sugar along with the juice of one lemon (about 1 dl) plonked into a small pot.

Then I cook this - a gently rolling boil - for 4-5 minutes and strain and press all the liquid out of the pulp.

Since I plan to drink this within the next 1-2 days I just bottle it and stick it in the fridge. A little vodka will probably add up to a week to it's life.
Next I set to mixing in a highball glass with plenty of ice.
  • 6 cl gin
  • 1 cl Fernet Branca
  • Raspberry soda*
Start by adding the gin and almost top with the soda - I just mixed equal amounts of cordial and seltzer but you have to find your own golden ration - gently stir until glass is chilled and then float a small amount of Fernet Branca on top and garnish with a slice of orange expending the oil on top of the drink.

Simply put - raspberry and gin is a match made in heaven, as the Clover Club Cocktail is testament to - and the liquorice notes of the Fernet works well with raspberry too.

If liquorice is not your thing - then either leave it out, in which case the drink is just a Fire Engine - or mix it with the gin to start with so it's incorporated into the finale taste profile.

Either way welcome to my youth.

August 19, 2013

Hot Rod - MxMo LXXVI

The name of my entry for MxMo LXXVI is only really fun if you understand Danish: Rod is Danish for root and this cocktail contains juice of not just one root but two - one of them hot enough to be called the chili of the North and supposedly burn the stomach lining of a cow or horse unfortunate enough to eat it.

This months theme for Mixology Monday is Fire. Kate of Muse of Doom - the gracious host - puts it like this in her announcement post:
Tiki-philes have their flaming spent lime shells and scorpion bowls. Classic cocktailers have the magic of a flamed orange zest. Molecular mixologists have their Smoking Guns. (and yes, frat boys have their flaming shots.) Even brunchtime drinkers have spicy Bloody Marys.

You don't have to go full Blue Blazer, not nearly -- heck, you could go full Fireball Whiskey! (or Fire Rock Pale Ale, etc..) You could riff on the Old Flame or come up with an inventive name of your own. You could even use a good firewater or burned wine. (and if you're grilling fruit, save some for me, will ya?)

In essence, bring the heat! Bring the Fire! Bring your inspiration!

On a serious note: remember that lass in Britain who lost her stomach because the mixologists weren't in control of the dangerous elements they were using in a cocktail? Let's have none of that here, huh? There's a lot more to Fire than just the electrochemical reactions happening on the end of a lit match. Stay safe and trust your gut about what you're comfortable doing. We're all here to have fun.
I immediately knew I wanted to work with Armoracia rusticana commonly known as horseradish. It's about the only edible plant grown in Denmark that has any kind of heat - other than stinging needles, but been there, done that.

The next obvious ingredient was aquavit - a name not often used in Denmark - most people call it snaps or brændevin. The latter literally means burned wine, because the first commercially produced spirit in Denmark was made by distilling wine. Pharmacists and munks had the market with this expensive medicin believed to cure anything from pox to the plague from the 1200s.  If it didn't at least you died happy - if you could afford it because obviously it was expensive.

Not until the 1600s when someone figured out snaps could be distilled from fermented wheat instead of expensive imported wine did aquavit gain popularity as a beverage and not as medicine.

Since I was already looking a local ingredients I decided to use carrot juice as a mixer hence the second root.

And when a friend gave me an amazing bottle of a tincture of Apothecary's Rose it all came together:

  • 6 cl aquavit - I used Brøndums Snaps which has a mild taste of caraway
  • 6 cl carrot juice
  • 3 cl lemon juice
  • 3 cl horseradish syrup*
  • 3 drops of rose tincture**
Shake with plenty of ice and double strain into cocktail coup. Garnish with tiny carrot.

It turned out really well - the horseradish does not overpower the other ingredients, but it adds a bit of bite along with the aquavit to balance out the sweetness form the carrot juice. The rose tincture brought it all together.

* Bring equal amounts of fresh grated horseradish, sugar and water to a boil. Let steep for 15-20 minutes and then strain.

** My friend Dana, who made the rose tincture, kindly supplies this recipe:
Stuff a small jam jar full of petals + stamens of rosa officinalis. It must be officinalis, because rugosa imparts the scent but not the flavour, whreas the other gallicas impart the flavour but not the scent ... get the picture? Officinalis.

Cover with vodka and let steep three days. Strain, wring all the moisture out of the petals - and repeat three times more. Four glassfuls of petals + stamens to the same jarful of vodka!

Strain, stopper airtight, and let sit for three months at least to mature before using.

This yields a very concentrated 'image of a rose'. We are talking drops, not dashes. May be diluted 3 - 4 times and will still give you an intense scent and flavour of midsummer roses.

August 9, 2013

Frambuesa Colada

I have mixed my share of earnest, grown up, serious cocktails. But once in awhile it is fun to be a little frivolous.

I'm not talking about cutting corners or being lazy, just about going for smooth and even sweet tasts when that would be good.

At TOTC I enjoyed Jeff Berry and David Wondrich's seminar about the Dark Ages of Mixology between 1967 and 1988. To prove their point they started by blending a hap hazardly thrown together Martini or whatever you would call a glass of gin, vermouth and slush ice.

They did it without paying any attention to the proces - and asked a couple of the guests to taste their work - to illustrate the greatest problem of the dark age: Bartenders complete lack of pride in their job.

So someone glancing at my concotion of raspberry, lemon, rum and coconut cream could probably confuse it with sloppy work - it isn't I promise!

I just needed something relaxing to end my week. A week which started with a gig on the morning show of Denmarks most popular radio broadcast on Monday  where I shared my experience at TOTC and found myself recommending the Sidecar - at 8.30 a.m. 

So as I was transitioning into weekend mode I noticed quite a few lovely ripe raspberries on my plants and remembered I had a can of Lopez cream of coconut and a more Nordic edition of a Pina Colada seemed the thing to mix.

I cooked the raspberries for 5 minutes with a sprig of rosmary, the juice of half a lemon and some sugar - I even tweaked it a tiny bit with a dash or two of a lovely violette sirup I have.

Then I strained the sirup, cooled it a bit and mixed my Colada:
  • 2 oz white rum - I used Havanna Club 3 Anejos
  • 1 oz raspberry syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3 oz Lopez cream of coconut
Shake with plenty of ice and strain into tall glass over fresh ice.

Garnish to your hearts content and most importantly: Enjoy.