• Mixology Monday Cocktail: Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    Alone, Bitter at the Beach

    mxmologo-2It’s time for Mixology Monday, and if you couldn’t guess already, this month’s theme is “Humbug”. Firstly we want to thank JFL at Rated R Cocktails for hosting this month and Fred Yarm at Cocktail Virgin Slut for reviving Mixology Monday. Now lets get to the theme:

    Lets face it the holidays suck, yeah I said it. You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don’t even like, or worse they freeload in your house. Your subjected to annoying music, and utterly fake, forced kindness and joy. Plus if you work retail your pretty much in hell, so don’t we all deserve a good stiff drink? So for this Mixology Monday unleash your inner Grinch. Mix drinks in the spirit of Anti-Christmas. They can be really bitter and amaro filled. They filled with enough booze to make you pass out in a tinsel covered Scrooge heap. They could be a traditional holiday drink turned on it’s ear. Or they could be a tribute to your favorite holiday villain. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa then you still suffer through the holidays, so feel free to join in with your Anti-Holiday drink as well. Whatever it is add a hearty “Humbug!” and make your drink personify everything annoying or fake about the holidays.

     humbug6While “some people” here at the farm have similar crabby feelings about the holidays, some of us don’t (ahem), but we both immediately said “tiki” when we thought of “anti-Christmas” cocktails. And when you are in a long holiday line at the store and the items won’t scan, and the kids are starting to squirm, and nobody can find the manager, and the next person in line is sneezing on you and yapping about their sex life on the phone, and and now you will be late for dinner, and you just can’t listen to one more fu…..umm, you need a trip to the beach. And, if anything, a tiki drink is a trip to a beach. Far, far away…maybe by yourself.

    humbug3So now that we had a direction, we started in on our “anti-Christmas” cocktail. The Alone, Bitter at the Beach combines, light rum, golden rum, aged Jamaican rum and Lemon Hart 151 rum with lime juice, pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup, a dash of absinthe and a big dose of Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit bitters over crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and the most cutesy, annoying holiday-themed item you can find. The Alone, Bitter at the Beach starts with pleasant notes of rum and citrus then you get the sweet / tart kick of the passion fruit and some heat from the booze. Standard tiki. But on the finish you get the herbal and anise flavors of the absinthe and a dry, almost tannic note of the hopped grapefruit bitters. We think the Alone, Bitter at the Beach fits the holiday season perfectly- too much good stuff that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth (literally and figuratively) and a bit of a headache.

    humbug1

    Our kind of reindeer.

    How did we get here? We stared with the Zombie as a template and then made sure to tune it to match the theme. Boozy? Oh yes. We took one of the booziest cocktails and added another ounce of aged Jamaican rum. Is that too much? Probably, but it is the holiday season, after all. Bitter? Medicinal? Well the absinthe and grapefruit bitters took care of that (and many tiki drinks do include grapefruit and absinthe, so we aren’t too far off the reservation). And we made sure to keep Falernum and allspice liqueur out of the drink- no pleasant holiday spices allowed. The garnish and cocktail napkin were our own special touches. Now if we only had a Grinch mug……

    humbugAlone, Bitter at the Beach:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. light rum (El Dorado)
    • 1 oz. gold rum (El Dorado)
    • 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 yr.)
    • 1 oz. Lemon Hart 151
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1 oz. pineapple juice
    • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
    • 2 dashes absinthe
    • 6 dashes grapefruit bitters (Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit)
    • Lime wheel, for garnish
    • Christmas ornament, for garnish (optional)

    Assemble:

    1. Place all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a large glass or tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Top with more ice if needed. Garnish with a lime wheel and something holiday-themed and overly cheerful. Serve with a loud “harumph!” or “humbug!”.
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  • Warm Napa Cabbage Salad

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    Warm Napa Cabbage Salad.

    This is one of our all-time favorite salads, probably because it is almost an “anti-salad”. It does have lots of Napa cabbage, but it’s bathed a warm vinaigrette along with a good dose of bacon, sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese. Unlike most salads that feature light flavors, this dish is a full-on umami-bomb. But we aren’t complaining, this is the good stuff. The still crisp, and slightly bitter cabbage holds up against the strong, salty flavors of the bacon and blue cheese, the vinaigrette adds acidity and the sweet mushrooms round out the flavors and textures. What you get is a complete bite with a full spectrum of flavors and textures. And the last taste is as good as the first. This is a restaurant-quality dish.

    napa1napa2napa3And that isn’t surprising, as warm Napa cabbage salads are a bit of a specialty in some of our local restaurants. In fact, one local restaurant has changed owners and themes several times over the years, but the one constant is the warm Napa cabbage salad. It pretty much keeps the place in business. And as cooks move from job to job they take this recipe with them. So we are never surprised to see this dish on new menus. A good dish is a good dish, and there are only so many ways to make Napa cabbage appeal to the masses.

    napa4napa5napa6If you are unfamiliar with Napa cabbage, it is also called Chinese cabbage, Nappa cabbage or Celery cabbage. The Napa cabbage is large, usually the size and shape of a football or rugby ball, and has light green feathery leaves. Most consider the Napa’s flavor slightly sweeter and more delicate than green or red cabbage. But this is still cabbage, and the Napa has the bright, slightly bitter flavor you would expect. Napa cabbage needs mild weather to thrive, so it does well all year in the Bay Area, otherwise look for Napa cabbage in fall, early winter and spring. It’s hard to miss at the market. Just look for the big green oblong cabbage.

    napa8napa9napa10 Continue reading