• Mixology Monday Cocktail: The McCovey Cove

    The McCovey Cove Cocktail.

    Time for another Mixology Monday! (We know it’s Friday, we like to be early.) This month’s online cocktail party theme is “Garnish Grandiloquence”  and our host is Joseph at Measure + Stir, one of the most innovative cocktail blogs out there (and one of our favorites). Here are the details:

    I’m always shocked by the way that an orange peel or a lemon peel can transform the experience of drinking a mixed drink from something mundane to something magical. In a similar vein, eating the olive in a martini will totally transform the imbiber’s perception of the drink. So this Mixology Monday, let’s really make a study of art of the garnish, by mixing up drinks where the garnish plays a central role in the experience of the drink. Of course, you don’t have to make a latticework out of orange peels, a pirate ship out of citrus, or a ferris wheel out of pineapple and squash, but it sure would warm my heart. This type of garnish is traditionally in the realm of tiki, but you could mix anything, so long as the garnish is the star of the show.

    Very cool, but a bit of a challenge, as we tend to keep our garnishes simple. But part of the reason we blog is to constantly improve our skills, so we got to work. Happily, we had an easy subject to work with, the San Francisco Giants’ second world series win in the last three years. As die-hard fans there was no question we would create a cocktail to celebrate. And our friend Sonja even gave us Giants cocktail umbrellas. Well, now we had one garnish, but motivated by Joseph’s Gourd Vibrations we decided to make the “glass” a garnish as well. And since the Giants are all about orange and black, we decided to use a hollowed orange with the SF logo and include a black (or very dark brown) cocktail. And after going through a bunch of oranges, we got our cocktail and named it after McCovey Cove, the body of water outside the Giant’s ballpark (knick-named after Giants’ Hall of Fame player Willie McCovey). Buster Posey was just named MVP, so we almost named the cocktail after him, but he doesn’t seem like the drinking type….

    As for the actual cocktail, the McCovey Cove is our adaptation of a Port Antonio, a tiki drink with gold and dark rum, lime juice, coffee liqueur and falernum. The Port Antonio is a good tiki drink that uses the coffee to add some aroma and slight bitter notes to cut through the sweetness of the rum and falernum, a “grown-up” tiki drink.  We wanted to go even more “coffee-forward” and developed the McCovey Cove. The McCovey Cove has aged Jamaican rum, high-proof coffee liqueur, Cherry Heering, lemon juice, allspice liqueur and a big orange twist (or hollowed orange) as a garnish. The McCovey Cove features a full orange oil and spice aroma followed by strong coffee and vanilla flavors backed up by the fruit of the Heering and the spice notes of the allspice liqueur. The lemon juice provides a backbone of citrus and acidity to keep the overall flavors bright and refreshing.

    A few notes on ingredients. We use Kahlua Especial, a 70-proof version of Kahlua in this recipe, we prefer the flavor and extra spirits. Most high-proof coffee liqueurs should work, but they vary in coffee flavor, so be ready to tune the recipe. As for the allspice liqueur (also known as pimento dram), it is a useful tiki ingredient featuring a full blast of holiday spices that are a great foil for sweet rum and citrus. St. Elizabeth makes a commercial version, but Alicia at Boozed and Infused has an excellent DIY recipe here. In a pinch, you can sub tiki bitters or Angostura for the allspice liqueur. Finally, Cherry Heering is one of the best cherry liqueurs and a worthy addition to any bar. Heering works equally well with gin, whiskeys and rum- go get some!

    Our thanks to Joseph for hosting this month’s MXMO and Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut for managing the whole enterprise. It was great fun, as always. And we managed to slaughter only a “few” oranges making the McCovey Cove…but we think their “sacrifice” was worth it!

    The McCovey Cove:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. Aged Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 year-old)
    • 3/4 oz. Coffee liqueur (Kahlua Especial)
    • 3/4 oz. Cherry Heering
    • 1/3 oz. Fresh lemon juice
    • 2 Dashes allspice liqueur (St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram)
    • 1 Large navel orange (or a big orange twist)
    • Cocktail umbrellas
    • Straw

    Assemble:

    1. Carve a design into the orange using a channel or paring knife, if you like. Position the carving on the bottom two-thirds of the orange.
    2. To hollow the orange, cut off just enough of the bottom rind of the orange to create a stable base, but don’t pierce the inner flesh. Then cut off the top third of the orange and carefully cut or scoop out the orange flesh (reserve for juice). A grapefruit knife is a helpful tool.  Set aside.
    3. Combine the rum, coffee liqueur, Heering, lemon juice and allspice liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold and strain into the hollowed orange filled with fresh ice. Garnish with cocktail umbrellas and add a straw. Serve.
  • The Farm At The Beach

    Breathe. Relax. Read a book.

    Well, we are back. Or at least settled. We are now at our “home-away-from-home” on the east end of Long Island. One of our favorite places in the world. I guess you can call it a “home” because we have plenty of friends and family here, and we pretty much know where everything is. That may seem simplistic, but part of being comfortable is familiarity. We cooked in three different kitchens in the last thee days but pretty much knew where everything was. Other people’s kitchens are a tough place to cook, but we know our way around. We can get back to business. But before we cooked, the first business was meeting the two newest members of our extended family. Beautiful babies and happy, if somewhat tired, parents. We can almost field a football team with all the cousins- which is very, very cool. We are so blessed and lucky, and the babies give us a reminder of just how good life is. And they are cute, too.

    Radishes are in season here, and very tasty.

    And we did get back to cooking. In many of our posts, we mention that certain dishes and drinks are good for a crowd. Well, we put a few to the test already. Most meals over the weekend fed groups of 15-20. So far, so good- but we do have a few notes and revisions. And, happily, mostly to the good. As for the actual food, we tend to have simply prepared fish and shellfish as our main courses. Seared ahi tuna, roasted striped bass, sea scallops and steamed clams made it to the table over the weekend, and will be part of almost every dinner this week. Most were caught within the last day or so. The fish is so fresh you don’t need to do much (just don’t screw them up), so we focused on sides that highlight the seafood or feature the local produce.

    The coconut rice goes well with the local fish. A big hit- we will make this throughout the trip.

    Firstly, we had fresh local radishes and served them with butter and salt. Always easy, always good. (My Dad also makes kick-ass guacamole every day, but that is another post). The biggest hit so far is the coconut rice. The rice went very well with the seared, rare ahi tuna (steaks almost 2 inches thick and sooo good). Served with a dash of soy and some cilantro chutney (working on that recipe), it was a perfect fit. A table of 16 were all very happy. One note here, we made the coconut rice with “Light” coconut milk, as the store was out of regular coconut milk. If anything, the light coconut milk gave the dish plenty of flavor, but perhaps a slightly lighter texture. Good to know that we can make a lower-calorie version of the original.

    We added fresh corn kernels to the Red Cat zucchini- it was great.

    Another surprise was how well the coconut rice went with the Red Cat zucchini. The dish comes from here, so everyone enjoyed it (the zucchini was right from the CSA), but as the dish is more Mediterranean, we are surprised how well the flavors meshed. Another note here- we added some fresh corn kernels to the zucchini and they added lovely texture and sweetness. If you have corn, give this a try. The next day we took the leftover coconut rice and combined it with the zucchini and corn. It made a delightful cold summer salad.

    As for the cocktails, we made fresh Tommy’s-style margaritas every day (2 oz. blanco tequila, 1 oz. gave nectar, 1 oz. lime juice). But the big hit was the Lani Honi. As predicted, everyone thought of it as a lemony summer punch with a little extra depth. We served a pitcher alongside the margaritas and the Lani Honi held its own. We had requests for more the next day. Very good.

    As expected, a perfect drink to make for a crowd.

    Lastly we made a punch-sized batch of the Nouvelle Fleur. The drink was a success, but did need some tweaking. In the original recipe we used ruby-red grapefruit and the flavors meshed very well. Out here, we used white grapefruit and the drink was way too sour. Happily, a little extra St. Germain and some agave nectar did the trick and the Nouvelle Fleur was a success, particularly with grapefruit fans. But a quick reminder that it pays to taste your drinks and adjust as necessary.

    A great punch, but we needed to adjust for more sour white greapefruit.

    Today we are off to the CSA garden and then looking for corn and stone fruits. And just wait until we start talking about the pies…oh my. We have new photos and recipes coming all week! It’s good to be back.