• Weekly Cocktail #43: The Jezebel

    The Jezebel Cocktail.

    The Jezebel Cocktail.

    After a thoroughly enjoyable time hosting Mixology Monday, we are back to our regular weekly cocktail. Although in this case our weekly cocktail is really just a holdover from our MxMo experiments. And while it didn’t make the cut (for purely technical reasons- we had no photos) the Jezebel is a delightful cocktail that we will make any time we have some blood oranges on hand.

    jezebel3The Jezebel is a riff on the classic cocktail the White Lady, a simple combination of gin, lemon juice and Cointreau (some recipes include egg white for extra body). But for this drink we substitute blood orange juice for a bit of both the lemon juice and the Cointreau. And the extra berry notes, acidity, tartness and color of the blood oranges makes big difference (better than the original, IMHO).

    jezebel2Yes, we are on a bit of a blood orange kick (we are a seasonal food blog, after all). But it has been a tremendous season for blood oranges here in California, and we simply can’t resist one of our favorite fruits (and a number of MxMo participants seemingly agreed and used blood oranges in their recipes- very cool). And what makes this even more fun is that orange juice is traditionally a difficult citrus ingredient for cocktails. Flavors and acidity vary, and oranges are often just too sweet (and watery) to balance the base spirits. There are some classic exceptions like the Bronx cocktail, the Monkey Gland (horrible name) and the Screwdriver, but generally oranges are a difficult cocktail ingredient. Blood oranges are a whole different story, the only bummer is limited availability based on the season. But if it’s winter, go get some and start making drinks (the juice is great on its own, btw).

    jezebel4As for the name of the drink, we have the MxMo theme of “inverted” and one of our favorite blogs, Silver Screenings (a fantastic blog about classic movies, we can’t recommend the site enough) to thank. We wanted to invert the White Lady and decided that blood oranges would work, and the drink tasted great. Happily we were looking at Silver Screenings and asked, “what about using a classic movie name” and, of course, we immediately thought of the 1930′s Bette Davis movie “Jezebel“. We won’t give away much of the story, but we will say that respectable young ladies in the 19th century shouldn’t wear red to the ball when all the other bells wear white. In the 21st century, we may have cut Jezebel a little more slack, or maybe even bought her a drink….

    jezebel1The Jezebel Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. dry gin
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or quality triple-sec)
    • 1/2 oz. blood orange juice
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice.

    Assemble:

    1. Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain (or even better, double-strain) into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. Serve.
  • Weekly Cocktail #22: The Margaret Rose

    The Margaret Rose. A good intro to “Daisy” cocktails.

    This week’s cocktail takes us back to the classics. The Margaret Rose is a well-balanced cocktail made of gin, Calvados (or Applejack, in a pinch), Cointreau, lemon juice and grenadine. The Margaret Rose is smooth, with clear apple flavor and a very tasty sweet / tart combination from the lemon and the Cointreau. The gin adds some depth and complexity. The grenadine adds more sweetness and the rosy color. This drink is easy to make, works well in any season and is a good introduction to a class of cocktails known as “Daisies”. More on that in a bit.

    This recipe first appears in print in “The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book“, a 1937 book that came out a year or so after the more famous Savoy Cocktail Book. In a nutshell, the Savoy book was written by an American Harry Craddock, working in the UK. The UK Bartenders Guild thought that the Savoy book was perhaps a bit too “American” and came out with their own cocktail guide, The Cafe Royal. Both are good cocktail books and each has some unique recipes. For whatever reason, the Savoy is a more popular modern reference. Maybe it’s the illustrations.

    We found this recipe and notes on the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book from Cocktail Virgin Slut, one of the better cocktail blogs. We tried the Margaret Rose and liked it (Carolyn gave it a nod, and she is normally not a lover of brandy) and decided to do some more research. The Margaret Rose is from a class of cocktails known as “daisies”. Daisies are one of the oldest types of cocktails and were common in the 19th century. Definitions vary, but a daisy usually combines brandy, citrus juice (normally lemon) and a sweet liqueur like Cointreau or Chartreuse. Other spirits like whisky, gin or rum may be part of the recipe. A good combination, and a clear precursor to “Sours” like the Sidecar and, much later, the Cosmopolitan.

    As for the ingredients, the only somewhat “rarefied” ingredient is the Calvados. Calvados is simply apple brandy from the Lower Normandy region of France. Most Calvados is dry, but features clear apple notes and a touch of heat from the alcohol (depending on the quality of the Calvados). American apple brandy, known as Applejack, tends to run a touch sweeter and more tangy than Calvados. Applejack will work well in this recipe, but the drink will be a bit different. Regardless, there are literally hundreds of cocktails (mostly 19th and early 20th century) that feature apple brandy, so Calvados or Applejack are a worthwhile addition to your bar.

    In the end, the Margaret Rose is a good drink to try. It is a good excuse to get some apple brandy, try a “daisy’ cocktail and even get a copy of a cool (if somewhat obscure) cocktail book. Nothing like a bit of history. Or you can ignore the history and just make the drink and enjoy it. That also works pretty well.

    The Margaret Rose:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. dry gin
    • 1 oz. Calvados (or Applejack)
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
    • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
    • 2 dashes grenadine

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. No garnish. Serve.
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  • Weekly Cocktail #11: The Maiden’s Prayer

    The Maiden's Prayer Cocktail

    Yes the name is….”interesting”, perhaps suggestive, but also a curse. We will get to that. Meanwhile our goal this week was to post a great, but perhaps lesser-known, drink made from very common ingredients. It’s fun to buy things like Maraschino, Chartreuse and Cocchi Americano and learn about obscure cocktails, but sometimes it is good to have a few recipes that you can make anytime, anywhere. We think the Maiden’s Prayer fits the bill.

    And you can probably make the Maiden’s Prayer now, or after a quick trip to the market. The ingredients are dry gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and orange juice. That’s all. (You might want to add some orange or lemon bitters, if you have them…but there we go, getting all “cocktailian”). But the Maiden’s Prayer is a very, very tasty drink. Light, balanced and refreshing, with some depth from the gin. After trying it, Carolyn and I were both surprised the Maiden’s Prayer isn’t a more popular cocktail. The Maiden’s Prayer is certainly a cocktail you could serve to a group and leave everyone happy. And if you have a friend who says “I don’t like gin”, this cocktail might change their mind, the gin blends in quite smoothly. So why don’t we see this drink more?

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