• Mixology Monday LXXV Cocktail: The Carlos Danger

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    The Carlos danger Cocktail.

    Time for another Mixology Monday! This time our host is also the “keeper of the flame” Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut. Thanks again from keeping things going Fred. Let’s get right to our theme “Flip Flop”:

    danger8I thought of the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday shortly after making the Black Rene, an obscure drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of brandy, amber rum, lemon, and Maraschino was tasty, but I felt that the recipe could be improved if I swapped in different ingredients. Taking a page from Max Toste of Deep Ellum who converted the Black Devil into the White Devil, I flipped around the ingredients to be pisco, white rum, lime, and Maraschino instead. With this combination that I called the White Rene, the drink really sang but it was still recognizable as being an alteration of the original recipe. Others have done similar swaps with grand effect including the Bluegrass Mai Tai that changes the two rums to two whiskeys and swaps lime for lemon from the classic while holding everything else the same.

    danger1Find a recipe, either new or old, and switch around at least two of the ingredients to sister or cousin ingredients but holding the proportions and some of the ingredients the same. The new recipe should be recognizable as a morph of the old one when viewed side by side.

    danger2This theme was a fun one for us to play with, as we were already doing some experimenting with tweaks to classics. So we decided to use the Manhattan as our foundation. Ever since we tried the excellent Ile St. Honorat from the Liquid Culture Project, an aged rum Manhattan variant, we have worked on our own version. Now we decided to do a fully “flipped” Manhattan using aged rum instead of whiskey, amaro in place of vermouth, and Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian) bitters for Angostura (we kept the orange twist we like to use with our Manhattans). We pretty much went for the “full flip”, just like that idiot guy from Manhattan Anthony Weiner sometimes fully “flips” into his alter ego, Carlos Danger. (Sorry, not much of a segue, but it’s what we had- and we couldn’t resist the name.)

    danger3danger4Since we had the orange twist and the herbal, coffee-ish notes of the Amargo Chuncho bitters, the big question was the choice of aged rum and amaro. We wanted a mild, slightly woody sipping rum, and after trying a few bottles settled on the Matusalem Gran Reserva, a 15-year-old rum with well-integrated floral and burnt sugar flavors. The Matusalem is an easy sipper, and a good fit for this kind of spirit-forward cocktail. As for the Amaro, we tried a bunch. Maria a Monte was good but a bit too minty and boozy (worth revisiting, good stuff), Cynar didn’t quite fit and Averna was too sweet. We settled on Amaro Montenegro with its less bitter, light herbal and orange peel notes.

    danger5danger6So how does the Carlos Danger taste? It has light floral, orange and coffee notes up front with a bit of kick from the booze in the middle (it’s a strong drink, no question). But the cocktail closes with a soft, dry vanilla note from the rum and amaro that is simply delightful. We tried the Carlos Danger up and on the rocks and it works both ways. So if you want to try something new, try a Carlos Danger cocktail and leave that cell phone alone. Continue reading

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  • Brown Sugar Poundcake (And A Bunny In The Kitchen)

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    Brown Sugar Poundcake.

    pound9This is some very tasty poundcake. It uses brown sugar and we serve it with fresh strawberries and sour cream (similar to how we serve strawberries with sour cream and raw/brown sugar). It tastes like a good poundcake with a deeper sugar flavor, as you would expect. The recipe comes from “Sweet Auburn Desserts” an excellent southern dessert cookbook, but it is just poundcake, no special steps, limited hassles, happy faces. We suggest you make it for a summer party. It is also very good toasted for breakfast (not that we would ever do anything like that).

    poundSo, since that doesn’t fill many paragraphs, let us tell you about the wild bunny running around in the kitchen. Since we have a large garden “farm”, we get plenty of critters. Some welcome, some not. The veggie beds are caged above and below, but there are still plenty of goodies (mostly in the orchard) to entertain the gophers, wood rats, moles, lizards and squirrels. We have a large deer fence around the “perimeter” to keep most of the deer, coyotes and perhaps larger animals at bay. These are our “passive” defenses, and they work pretty well.

    pound1pound2As for the “active” defenses we have some traps for gophers (the enemy) and we happily dispatch wood rats (the ones that steal fruit) whenever we find their nests. But on a day-to-day basis, Oreo the cat is our primary “enforcer”. Oreo is a rescued barn cat that lost her tail to a coyote. She lost her gig at the barn. This ended up being a good deal for the cat, as she gets to practice her “craft” with minimal interference here at the farm. And, until recently, everything was good. But then things started to change…

    pound4First, the cat started to catch songbirds. She didn’t usually kill them, but would bring us a “gift”. The sight of Carolyn shaking the cat to release a bird (they usually get away in a puff of feathers) is…..”amusing”, to say the least. Then a few weeks ago some rabbits moved inside the deer fence and, suddenly, here is the cat bringing us bunnies as gifts. Not good. Bunnies are cute, the kids like bunnies. (And are we so “shallow” that we value cute songbirds and bunnies more than ugly gophers and rats? Yes, absolutely.)

    pound5So the other evening the cat brings us a still kicking live bunny as a gift. We come out to “free” the bunny and, once free, the bunny runs inside the house and into the kitchen (right past our puzzled dog, I might add). Now we are chasing a very scared bunny in laps around the kitchen island until it tries to hide and we finally catch it (gently) with a towel to move it outside. Great. Then we let it go and it runs right into the open garage! Ugh. Dumb. Bunny. (Dumb farmers? Maybe.) The bunny later escaped from the open garage during the night. We just hope the cat wasn’t waiting….Never a dull moment here at the farm.

    pound6pound7Brown Sugar Poundcake:

    (Adapted from “Sweet Auburn Desserts”)

    Notes Before You Start:

    • No notes. It’s poundcake with a little something extra- go make it.

    What You Get: Poundcake with deeper sugar flavor and some extra color. Good cake for a crowd.

    What You Need: No special equipment required. A stand mixer will really help, though.

    How Long? A couple of hours, but maybe 15 minutes of active time. You start poundcake in a cold oven, so it takes 90+ minutes to bake. Plan accordingly.

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