• Mixology Monday LXXXI Cocktail: The Other Anejo Highball

    anejoMixology Monday is back again. And not a moment to soon. We have some resolutions that need breaking….(who are we kidding, they are long gone). Anyway, here is the theme from the excellent food, booze and cigar blog Southern Ash:

    mxmologoHighball – n. 1. a long iced drink consisting of a spirit base with water, soda water, etc. -Collins English Dictionary Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition…  For this month’s theme, I thought we could strip away the complexities of cocktails and relax with a nice highball… Most cocktails are at least three ingredients with the highball relegated to emergency or last resort status, but in those highballs we will seek refuge. The end of the day is sometimes better served by a simple liquor plus mixer combination than an artfully measured Corpse Reviver No. 2 This month, tell us what you’ll do with a liquor and a mixer (with maybe a wee bit of garnish) to ease into the new year.

    anejo3Ah, highballs. Not only are highballs easy to make (a good thing after all the holiday festivities), but they are a favorite here at the farm. The Florodora is a favorite (our house punch is a variation), the Diablo is another welcome sip and we have a love affair with Gin and Tonics. This was going to be fun, and we knew just where to go- a Buck.

    anejo4Bucks are a variety of highball using spirits and ginger ale or ginger beer as the mixer, you can add juices, sweeteners, liqueurs and/or bitters as well. My sister Tina introduced us to Gin Bucks years ago and we have played with Bucks ever since (the Folordora and Diablo are Buck variants). Might as well keep playing…

    anejo2After a little research we found Dale DeGroff’s famous Anejo Highball, a combination of anejo (aged) rum, Curaçao, lime juice, ginger beer and bitters with a citrus garnish. Good stuff, but it got us thinking that we should use the “other” anejo, tequila. Tequila plays well with ginger, so this wasn’t much of a stretch. And after a few trials, we got something we like.

    anejo1The Other Anejo Highball combines anejo tequila, lime juice, agave nectar, ginger ale and orange bitters garnished with lime and orange wheels. We went with ginger ale for cleaner flavor. And let’s face it- ginger beer gets funky sometimes, great with a vodka-based Moscow Mule, not so great with aged tequila. We also went to orange bitters and agave to keep the tequila from fighting with heavier Curaçao.

    What did we get? Basically, the Other Anejo Highball tastes like a sparking ginger margarita made with really good tequila. That works for us, plus it’s easy to make. And while we usually save anejo tequila for sipping, the extra depth and richness of the anejo does shine though. Worth a try, and certainly worth the effort. Continue reading

  • 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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  • Weekly Cocktail #53: The Siesta

    The Siesta Cocktail

    The Siesta Cocktail

    It’s no surprise that when summer comes around, our taste in cocktails tends to shift towards simpler, more refreshing drinks. But it isn’t just a case of the weather (it’s nice here most of the year), it has more to do with the nature of summer, giving us plenty of free time with family and friends. Cook-outs and impromptu get-togethers mean lots of opportunities to mix quick, tasty cocktails. And since we are often mixing at someone else’s place, it is good to have some creative recipes that use common ingredients. (Trust us on this one, we once drove all over eastern Long Island trying to find a bottle of Benedictine. No Luck.)

    siesta10siesta5But using common (or at least, easily purchased) ingredients doesn’t mean you get a common cocktail. A little tweaking and tuning on classics often gives you a very tasty, complex sip, but without a lot of work. Such is the case of this week’s cocktail, the Siesta. The Siesta combines blanco tequila, Campari, lime juice, grapefruit juice and simple syrup. It lands somewhere in between a margarita and a Hemingway Daiquiri with the added bitter kick (and beautiful color) of Campari. The first sip makes it clear this is a summery drink, but the Campari and grapefruit give the depth that makes the last sip as good as the first.

    siesta4siesta3The Siesta is from the PDT Cocktail Book and mixologist Katie Stipe. As PDT recipes go, it is one of the most simple. But it is in the book to illustrate what they call an “aha!” moment when Stipe made a small tweak to a classic and ended up with something new and very, very good.

    siesta2siesta6In this case, the real tweak is adding the Campari (look in the back our your liquor cabinet, you might have some). We have a love / hate relationship with Campari (we sometimes prefer mixing with its little cousin Aperol). Too much Campari and we get ashy, syrupy flavors that kill anything else. But when Campari is used well, we get the pleasant bittersweet and fruit notes that make it a mixologist’s favorite. The Siesta uses just enough Campari that you know it’s there, but it plays nice with the tequila, lime and grapefruit. (Another drink in this category is the Jasmine, also a good summer sip).

    siestaSo when you are mixing drinks this summer, by all means go with the Margarita, daiquiri or GnT, but leave a little room to play around. Look in the back of the liquor cabinet, pantry or fridge for something a little different. Then riff on the classic. You may have your “aha” moment.

    The Siesta:

    (From Katie Stipe and the PDT Cocktail Book)

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. blanco tequila
    • 1/2 oz. Campari
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
    • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
    • Grapefruit twist, for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until will chilles and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with the grapefruit twist. 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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  • Mixology Monday Cocktail: Long Island Planter’s Punch (LIPP)

    Long Island Planter’s Punch.

    One of the cooler things in the cocktail blogging world has to be Mixology Monday, an “online cocktail party” where cocktail enthusiasts submit and share cocktails to fit an ever-changing theme. Paul Clarke of Cocktail Chronicles and Imbibe! ran Mixology Monday for 6 years (Wow- thanks Paul!) and just handed off the reins to Frederic Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut. (BTW- a shameless plug for Frederic’s new Boston Cocktail book “Drink and Tell”- see here). So here is the theme:

    For this month, I have chosen the theme of equal part cocktails — those simple drinks where only one jigger is needed despite how many ingredients are added. These recipes have gained a lot of popularity as classics like the Negroni and Last Word have resurfaced, and variations of these equal part wonders have become abundant.

    LIPP as a “long” drink.

    Indeed they have. We have already posted on the Last Word and a very tasty variant with Apricot Shrub (that we made) based on a cocktail from Bar Terra. But seeing as how the Last Word has been revised dozens of times, we decided to look at other classic cocktails and see what we could do. We tried Corpse Reviver #2 variants with gin, grapefruit, Aperol and Lillet Rose’- good but better in unequal proportions. We also played with the Scofflaw, one of our recent faves, that included genever, rye, lemon, grenadine and dry vermouth. A very good drink, but the genever takes over so it was just a “genever scofflaw”. Ok, but not what we were after. But as a side bonus, we did make our own grenadine.

    Hard at “work” in the office…

    About that time, we decided that mining “classics” for ideas wasn’t going so well and perhaps another approach was in order. So if “classics” weren’t working, how about drawing inspiration from somewhat cheesier “less iconic” cocktails. And this very quickly brought us to the Long Island Iced Tea. We recently posted on the drink from Long Island, it is way better than it should be, and it uses roughly equal parts. But what to do with the homemade grenadine? Well, how about subbing the grenadine for Coke?  Kind of like Planters Punch (another semi-uncool cocktail) or a Bacardi Cocktail…and since the seasons are changing how about a little spice from a dash of bitters? (The rules allow it). And finally, the drink was boozy enough so we dropped the vodka, as we still had plenty of other spirits in the drink.

    Ingredients for Long Island Planter’s Punch

    And the Long Island Planters Punch was born. (And yes the LIPP is a riff on the L.I.R.R.- Long Island Railroad) The LIPP combines equal amounts of white Demerara rum (El Dorado), reposado tequila (Cazadores), dry gin (Tanqueray) , Cointreau (or another triple-sec), lime juice and grenadine, with a dash of Fees Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters (you can sub Angostura). And we garnish with a lime wedge for a little aroma and extra presentation. And one last note, if you can’t make your own grenadine, a “real pomegranate” grenadine will be much better, as the corn-syrup based versions are way too sweet.

    And the flavor of the cocktail? We like it very much. You get the lime juice, tequila and Cointreau up front and then the herbal flavors of the gin and sweet rum and grenadine fill-in and finally you get the spice of the bitters. A good sip, and just like the Long Island Iced Tea, it tastes much less boozy than it really is. And you can serve the LIPP as a cocktail or a long drink, it works either way. The LIPP is so tasty, we wondered if we should rename it and not mention its less-than-stellar cocktail forebears. But just as we still love our Dads, even though they mowed the lawn every Sunday in khaki shorts, black socks and sandals, we will proudly acknowledge the LIPP’s heritage.

    The Long Island Planter’s Punch (LIPP)

    Ingredients:

    (For 1 cocktail, double for a “long” version of the drink)

    • 1/2 oz. White rum (El Dorado Demerara)
    • 1/2 oz. Reposado tequila (Cazadores)
    • 1/2 oz. Dry gin (Tanqueray)
    • 1/2 oz. Triple-sec (Cointreau)
    • 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 oz Grenadine (homemade- see below, or “real pomegranate”)
    • 1 dash Fee’s Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters
    • Lime wedge, for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve.

    -or-

    1. For a “long version” of the drink. Double the recipe and combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a large tumbler, highball or pint glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

    —-

    Grenadine:

    (Adapted from Cocktail Chronicles and David Wondrich)

    Notes:

    • This is a “cold-process” version of Grenadine. There are also boiled versions, but we prefer the fresher flavors of the cold version.
    • You can use superfine sugar to be sure the sugar will dissolve in the pomegranate juice. You will get a bit more sugar, by weight, so check the flavor of the grenadine after the first mixing before adding any more sugar.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 part white sugar
    • 1 part pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice
    • 1 tablespoon of vodka or grain alcohol per cup of syrup (optional)

    Assemble:

    1. Place the juice and sugar in a jar with a good lid and seal. Shake well until sugar dissolves in the juice. Taste and add sugar, by tablespoon, to balance flavor.
    2. Add the vodka or grain alcohol, if using. Store in the fridge.
  • Weekly Cocktail #24: Long Island Iced Tea

    Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail.

    Well, “when in Rome…” And in this case, “when in Long Island….make Long Island Iced Tea”.

    While this cocktail is much tastier than you might think, there is no tea in this drink, and there is nothing “long” about it. “Long” drinks usually denote cocktails that are less boozy and often served in higher volumes, like a Pimms Cup or Dark n Stormy (a Diablo is also a good long drink). Long drinks often make for good summer cocktails, as you can sip them over a lazy afternoon. But with the Long Island Iced Tea, you can sip one over a full afternoon and still feel like you had a Three-Martini lunch…umm… make that a four-martini lunch.

    Many ingredients, but most are easy to find or are in your bar right now.

    The trick with the Long Island Iced Tea (Latin translation: needus designus driverus) is that most recipes suggest anywhere from four to seven ounces of high-proof spirits per drink (most cocktails have two ounces)- but you really don’t taste the booze. The Long Island Iced Tea tastes good (very good if you tweak the recipe), and goes down way to easy for its own (and your own) good.

    Most recipes suggest an ounce to an ounce-and-a-half each of gin, vodka, tequila, rum and triple sec, with some lemon, simple syrup and a splash of coke. We include that recipe below, but it is a bit sweet for most. And while it tastes good, most of the attraction is of the “I can’t believe this drink is smooth with so much booze” category. Our version lightens the drink somewhat (not much) but omits the triple sec and adds more lemon and coke. Usually we don’t mess with original recipes without changing the name of the cocktail. But there are literally dozens of variations on the Long Island Iced Tea (see here, if curious), so whats one more version of the recipe?

    Long Island Iced Tea and ingredients.

    As for the spirits used in the recipe, there is no need for anything special. Decent, inexpensive rum, gin, tequila and vodka will do fine. The real alchemy of the drink is how the spirits mesh, if you add something too good, or aged, it won’t help and may actually harm the drink- and why waste the money? If you do want the best result, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup will work better, but sour mix will work in a pinch. All recipes suggest Coke, and that’s what we use, but any decent cola should be fine. And serve with lots of ice, the dilution helps the drink, and softens the booze (a tiny bit). And in the end, you have a very tasty drink that is a good summer sip. Think rum and coke, but with more tartness, depth and complexity. Just be careful if you have more than one.

    A few too many and you may end up looking like this…

    As for the history of this drink, there are simply too many stories to know where it came from. TGI Fridays claims they invented it (doubtful), but bars from Long Island to Tennessee also claim to be the creators. And to make matters worse, the timeframe varies anywhere from the 1920′s to 1970′s. But since neither tequila or vodka were common in the states until the 1950′s, we suspect the Long Island Iced Tea is a more recent creation. But perhaps fittingly, after a few of these cocktails, no one would remember anyway… ;-)

    The Long Island Iced Tea: (Our version)

    Ingredients:

    • 3/4 oz. white rum
    • 3/4 oz. blanco tequila
    • 3/4 oz. dry gin
    • 3/4 oz. vodka
    • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
    • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
    • 2-3 oz. cola
    • Lemon wheel, for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Combine the spirits, lemon juice and simple syrup in a highball or Collins glass with lots of ice. Mix and then top with the cola. Add the lemon wedge and serve.

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