• Weekly Cocktail #60: The Stone 75

    The Stone 75 Cocktail.

    The Stone 75 Cocktail.

    Ah, cocktails. Just when you think you’ve had enough….they pull you back in. And in this case, “had enough” meant that we recently hosted Mixology Monday and had seen our fill of cocktails and photos. We were a bit tired. Time for some tea, maybe a sip of wine, new kegs on tap (an IPA and a crisp golden ale), and perhaps some hard cider to celebrate the season. Cider? Hmm….

    stoneAnd this is what happens once you start mixing drinks and catch the bug. We got a few different bottles of hard cider to play with and suddenly the gears started grinding turning and we were mixing away. This time the inspiration came from a bit of internet research into different styles of cider. While looking at dry vs. sweet cider we saw a recipe for the Stone Fence, one of America’s oldest cocktails and perhaps our original highball.

    stone1stone2The Stone Fence is the simple combination of a big glass of hard cider and a shot of rum, applejack or whiskey. This drink is literally hundreds of years old and the variety of hard liquor simply reflects what was available at any time or different regions. Applejack in New Jersey or rum in Massachusetts, gave way (somewhat) to whiskey, but all still work. At some point, most people added ice to the mix and we get this “proto-highball”. A good sip, particularly if feeling a bit lazy. But as you may have guessed, the big issue is that this is a strong drink. We will forgo the “fell face-first into a Stone Fence” jokes…but you get the idea.

    stone7We decided to play with the basic recipe and craft something with a bit less booze (but just a bit) and a slightly more elegant presentation. We also had some old-school sugar to play with (a piloncillo of Mexican sugar that would be similar to colonial-era sugar) and decided to include it in the cocktail. As for inspiration, we looked to two of our favorite sparklers, the citrusy French 75 and the bitters-heavy Seelbach.

    stone3After some very pleasant experimentation, we came up with the Stone 75. The Stone 75 combines muddled lemon peel and sugar with lemon juice, Cointreau, Jamaican rum, applejack, tiki bitters (Angostura also work) and dry hard cider. Served in a coupé or flute and topped with a lemon twist, this is a very pretty cocktail.

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  • Mixology Monday LXXVIII Roundup: Intercontinental

    Time of the Saison cocktail.

    Time of the Saison cocktail.

    Another Mixology Monday has come and gone, so now it is time for the roundup. Our theme was “Intercontinental” and the goal was to mix a cocktail, or cocktails, that have “ingredients” from at least three but up to seven continents. And, as we mentioned, the definition of  “ingredient” was pretty broad, so we hoped to see many cocktails that spanned the globe….including Antarctica.

    mxmologoSo how did everyone do?  Very, very well, IMHO. The cocktails, photos and the stories were great. We actually had many of the ingredients (should we be embarrassed about that?) and mixed a number of the drinks. Very tasty. And just as important, an excuse (motivation?) to try something new. Whenever we feel we may be getting into a slight cocktail “rut”, Mixology Monday snaps us out of it.

    Thanks again to everyone for participating and to Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut for keeping MxMo going. Here is the roundup (in no particular order):

    Feu-de-vie, one of our favorite booze blogs, covers six continents with the Giganta, a coffee-pineapple tiki-ish concoction with homemade Coffee-Macadamia Orgeat. Nice. We want some of that…

    Giganta cocktail.

    Giganta cocktail.

    Next we get the Vegan Pisco Sour from Elana at Stir and Strain. She has lovely creations and her photos are some of the best we have seen. For this cocktail, not only do we get four continents, but some cool info on using beer as a substitute for egg whites in “foamy” cocktails. For vegans, good stuff. For us, a tasty drink. Everyone wins.

    Vegan Pisco Sour cocktail.

    Vegan Pisco Sour cocktail.

    Amarula, the “Bailey’s of Africa” makes its first (but not its only) MxMo appearance in Swizzlestick’s Life is Beautiful cocktail. Lychee liqueur made it in as well. A truly global cocktail that hits six continents. Well done.

    Life is Beautiful cocktail.

    Life is Beautiful cocktail.

    The good folks at Booze Nerds take advantage of a good name/story and global ingredients to cover seven continents with the Amundsen (nice historical reference guys!). More importantly we get a very creative drink with spirits, amaro, bitters, spice, a tea reduction / syrup and a port wine float. Gold Star.

    Amundsen cocktail.

    Amundsen cocktail.

    The Straight Up, gives us another drink using Australian port and narrative license to cover seven continents with the ….and Antarctica. Again, we also see some tea and amaro in play for this beautiful aperitif-style cocktail. We certainly are intrigued with the mix of bitter, tannic, smokey and herbal ingredients. Gold Star.

    ...and Antarctica cocktail.

    …and Antarctica cocktail.

    Our Bay Area neighbors and frequent travelers BarFlySF, take us to five continents and then a few layers of hell as a bonus…seriously. They give us Dante’s Divinia and Dante’s Divinia Down Under, riffs on the Dante’s Paradise cocktail they discovered at Longman and Eagle’s in Chicago. And with some Habanero shrub involved- there will be some fire.

    Dante's Divinia.

    Dante’s Divinia cocktail.

    Out in Tennessee, Sass and Gin goes a slightly more traditional route with the Madison’s Revenge. This Manhattan variant shows that you can get to five or six continents quicker than you think. A little tuning of sweetener, spice or garnish and you have a global cocktail. Good work.

    Madison's Revenge cocktail.

    Madison’s Revenge cocktail.

    Our fearless leader Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut pulls out a bottle of Van Der Hum, an African tangerine and spice liqueur, for a very spirituous, old-time cocktail the Daiqurbon. We expected to see a bit more Van Der Hum this MxMo, but since we couldn’t find any here in Norcal, we are glad somebody found some.

    Daiqurbon cocktail.

    Daiqurbon cocktail.

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  • Mixology Monday “Intercontinental” Cocktail #1: The Horn Of Good Hope

    Horn of Good Hope Cocktail.

    Horn of Good Hope Cocktail.

    Ah, another Mixology Monday, always good fun and a nice little prod to keep us from becoming lazier lazy drinkers. And this month we can’t be lazy at all, since we are hosting. The theme is “Intercontinental” and if you want to full download here it is. But basically we need to mix some drinks with ingredients from most of the continents. So far, there are already a number of very creative (and quite tasty looking / sounding) cocktails submitted. So we figured we may as well get going with a few of our own creations.

    mxmologoAnd since we already have a geographic theme we decided we would go a little further and look at the globe for inspiration. In this case we said where is the “end of the earth”? And we decided that Cape Horn in Chile and the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa fit the bill and started looking for spirits (we also looked at Cape Grim in Tasmania, but came up short on ingredients, otherwise we would have ‘The Grim Horn of Good Hope’, oh well…sigh).

    cape7cape5For Chile / Cape Horn it was easy to find an ingredient, Pisco, the local grape brandy that is very common here in Norcal (Pisco also comes from Peru) . For South Africa / Cape of Good Hope we have more options with all sorts of South African wine or Amarula, the local cream liqueur from the Marula fruit. We aren’t big cream liqueur fans, but couldn’t resist trying out the Amarula (we already have a few Amarula sightings for this MxMo).

    cape4It may be a hokey description, but Amarula basically tastes like “tropical Bailey’s” with sweet cream, caramel, a touch of ginger and mango-ish notes. Not bad at all, and not surprisingly Amarula is often mixed into coffee or chocolate cocktails. We chose to go in the direction of coffee, and the rest came together pretty quickly.

    cape3cape6The Horn of Good Hope combines Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua Especial from North America), Pisco (South America), Amarula (Africa), Grand Marnier (Europe) and a dusting of nutmeg (Asia), shaken with ice, strained and served as a cocktail. The flavor is in the Black Russian / Bailey’s and Coffee realm, but the Pisco adds strength and heat, the Grand Marnier adds burnt orange notes and the Amarula adds spice and tropical fruit flavor. The nutmeg adds extra depth of flavor and aroma that rounds things out. There is also a lovely nutty note throughout (no idea where it comes from, but don’t mind it being there). A good sip, even if somewhat (dare we say it) “frappuccino-ish”.

    cape2But this is a sweet, boozy drink, and best served as a sip- or almost a small dessert. We suggest you split this cocktail in half or even thirds and serve it as a quick shot or 2-3 sip cocktail. The first few tastes are the best, before the drink loses its chill and the sweetness takes over. Otherwise, if you like sweet drinks take your time and enjoy the full cocktail.

    cape1So that is our first try at “Intercontinental” cocktails. We got five continents on this one. We are aiming for six or seven with our next creation. Stay tuned…

    The Horn Of Good Hope:

    Ingredients:

    (Serves 1 to 2)

    • 1 oz. Pisco (We actually like Encanto from Peru, but Chilean Pisco is great, too)
    • 1 oz. Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua Especial)
    • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
    • 1/2 oz. Amarula
    • Fresh Nutmeg, for dusting

    Assemble:

    • Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold and double-strain into small chilled cocktail glasses or coupes. Dust with fresh nutmeg. Serve.
  • Weekly Cocktail #59: The Honeymoon…..And The Annulment

    The Honeymoon Cocktail.

    The Honeymoon Cocktail.

    Fall is here and it is time to get back to our weekly cocktails. And when we think autumn cocktails, we tend to look towards apples and Applejack, America’s apple brandy. We are big fans of Laird’s Bonded Applejack, with its dry apple flavor and strong (100 proof), spirituous core. Landing somewhere between the lighter spirits (gin, tequila) and darker spirits (bourbon, rye), Applejack is a natural for cocktails, as you can build a light, bright cocktail, or a dark, heavy drink, simply by playing with a few ingredients.hmoon4

    hmoon2For a lighter Applejack drink we really enjoy the Honeymoon cocktail. A simple combination of Applejack (or Calvados, that French stuff), Cointreau, Benedictine and lemon juice. At first you might think this is a sweet drink, but with 2 ounces of Applejack and a light hand with the other ingredients, you get a strong boozy core accented by citrus and then spice from the Benedictine. There is more here than you would expect, and it is certainly better than your average “sour”.

    hmoon8hmoon5Originally a pre-prohibition cocktail, the Honeymoon has been discovered, forgotten and rediscovered a few different times. And cocktail writers from Jim Meehan to Ted Haigh to Fred Yarm all sing its praises for a reason, it is a delightful sip. And certainly a pleasant intro to Applejack and a good reason to get a bottle. Oh, and it’s inexpensive, too….

    hmoon3Along with being a good sip, the Honeymoon is a fun drink to play with. And one of our experiments gave us our next drink, the Annulment. One of our creations, the Annulment keeps the basics of the Honeymoon, but adds to the Benedictine’s slight herbal, bitter and spice notes through the use of Amaro and bitters. We basically doubled down on the heavier flavors.

    The Annulment Cocktail.

    The Annulment Cocktail.

    For the Annulment, we add a splash of Averna, an amaro known for sweet, herbal, bitter and spice flavors, and both Angostura and Tiki bitters for depth and added spice. What you get is an entirely different drink. Where the Honeymoon is light and bright, The Annulment is darker and spicier, with a clear bitter edge that reminds us of the tannic edge of apple skins. If you like spiced apple cider, you will enjoy the Annulment. As it is we enjoy both the Honeymoon and the Annulment to follow…hmoon6

    The Honeymoon Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
    • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
    • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional, we omit)

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Garnish with lemon twist, if you like. Serve.

    —–

    The Annulment Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/3 oz. Averna
    • 1/3 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
    • 1/3 oz. Benedictine
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 2 dashes Bittermens Tiki bitters (or sub more Angostura)

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Serve.
  • Weekly Cocktail #55: The Scorpion

    The Scorpion.

    The Scorpion.

    While I would never say we were stuck in a rut with our cocktails here at the farm, we did notice that we were in a bit of a holding pattern. Lots of gin and lime, lots of Negroni variants and Florodoras at every party (that trend won’t change soon, everyone loves those Florodoras). So we decided to look for something different, but also had an additional challenge: we still have our last big batch of Meyer lemons and Cara-Cara oranges to use before they go bad. Happily, if you have a lot of citrus, the world of cocktails has a pretty standard answer, Tiki.

    scorpion1

    A beautiful friendship.

    A beautiful friendship.

    It was about time we got back to Tiki. Winter or summer, or anywhere in between, when you want a quick smile and a tasty sip a Tiki drink is usually the answer. The only hiccup in our plans for a Tiki drink is that many of our favorites use tart lime and/or pineapple juice, rather than lemons and oranges. But a little research on our Tiki app from Beachbum Berry gave us the Scorpion, as classic from Trader Vic Bergeron. Perfect.

    scorpion2And the Scorpion is a very good tiki drink, particularly for summer. The Scorpion combines orange juice, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, light rum, brandy, crushed ice and a fruit / mint garnish. The sweeter citrus, light rum and brandy give you a bright, clean sip without some of the aged rum and spice funk of many tiki drinks. If it wasn’t so boozy (hey, it’s still a tiki drink) you could almost make a summer punch out of the Scorpion. In fact, if you add some sparking wine and tiki bitters you have a lovely punch, in case you need to serve a crowd.

    scorpion5scorpion4The other fun thing we did with the Scorpion was pull out the blender (not something we do every day) and really go to town with our garnish. While we are all for mixing our drinks quickly and serving them, sometimes it is fun to take a little time and put on a show. We chopped the ice in the blender so it was nice and snowy and then crafted a fancy garnish of a Cara-Cara half-circle, two maraschino cherries and a mint sprig. Good fun and our reward was a an attractive, albeit very strong, cocktail. The perfect thing to get us back on track.

    scorpion6The Scorpion:

    (From Trader Vic and Beachbum Berry)

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
    • 1 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
    • 2 oz. light rum
    • 1 oz. brandy
    • Crushed ice
    • Fruit and mint for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Crush the ice in the blender, then add the liquid ingredients and blend for 10 seconds. Pour into a large wine glass, Collins glass or tiki mug. Garnish with fruit and/or mint. Serve.
  • Mixology Monday LXX Roundup: Inverted

    Stir and Strain’s El Jardin de Mi Abuela.

    Another Mixology Monday has come and gone, but this time we were hosting. Thanks again to everyone who participated and to Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut for reviving and maintaining Mixology Monday.

    mxmologoThe theme was “inverted”, and we will spare you the full back story (post here) and just say the theme was intended to see if we could “flip drinks on their heads” any and all possible ways. And the Mixology Monday crowd certainly delivered. We saw drinks “inverted” on name, spirits, solid/liquid (ice was well used), colors, layers and temperatures. All good stuff. We are “working” our way through as many of the cocktails as we can, and many are very good.

    As for us, we found this theme somewhat more challenging than expected. We created two drinks, but also failed repeatedly to make our third, a champagne-based cocktail that tasted and looked like Napa Cabernet (some things simply aren’t meant to be, and who wants a cocktail to taste like wine anyway?). Oh well. In any event, here are all the cocktails (mostly) in the order we got them:

    BarFlySF gave us three cocktails that invert classics using light instead of dark spirits. We like their use of homemade limoncello as a substitute for darker liqueurs. Their Union Square inverted the New Orleans classic the Vieux Carre.unionsquare1

    BarFlySF then took up our challenge to invert the Manhattan and created the Nemo.

    nemo

    And finally, BarFlySF, added another post and inverted the classic Brandy Sidecar and created the Pisco Pedicab. Extra points for use of blood oranges.pisco1

    ——

    Shake Strain and Sip took the inverted theme to another place altogether and put the drink inside an ice-cube. The Alice’s Looking Glass is a very cool, and very tasty, creation with rye and Aperol in the lead. (We made it with regular ice, still great).——

    901 Very Good Cocktails managed to create a cocktail, discuss the Butthole Surfers (a band from our youth, yes we are that old) and even promote the idea of moderation. We are all for moderation….in moderation.  The Shah Sleeps Cocktail inverts standard cocktail proportions and leads with Amaro Montenegro.Shah

    ——

    The Shorter Straw applied the inverted theme to the Super Bowl (we would still like to invert that outcome) and gave us the 35th Minute. The lights went out during the 35th minute of the game and we certainly would have liked to sip this beautiful Rhum Agricole-based cocktail while we waited.

    ——-

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