ginger

Pillar of Autumn (End Of Season)

Living in New England, you get rich flavors growing all over the place in random orchards and farms so we’re lucky to have a lot of variety, which works wonders when making cocktails. Like this one.

When I started writing this post, I had a terrible cold (probably not “terrible” but I’m a big baby when it comes to getting sick), it was a week before Thanksgiving (aka ‘the only time of the year you should openly be thankful of anything’) and that deep regret for what I and an unnamed turkey would do to my body was but a distant bridge far, far away. Well, November is done and the struggle is here. Fun fact, kids: if you eat enough cookies and caramel flan at a steady pace throughout the day, you become a grumpy asshole that swears you can communicate with animals small & large. It’s a bad look. I regret nothing.

Autumn recipes are done. I think the way that Labor day marks the end of me being able to wear some bitchin’ white linen capris, Thanksgiving marks the end of fall weather drinks and sadly, the end of socially acceptable drinking of pumpkin beer with sugar rims. I say fuck-that to all of those things because if I could, I’d kick back a Budweiser with a sugar rim (on the can!) while wearing my comfortable white linen. So today’s drink may come too late but I’ll leave that up to you. All I want is for you to get wasted.

A shaken drink with muddled apples & ginger, fresh lime juice that joins forces with the pressed juices, Averna amaro and cherry bitters to bring it depth and finally, Applejack and bourbon to give it strength. It’s sweet and refreshing. Exactly what I’d want to drink in between those tasty stirred cocktails I’ve recommended you sip:

I’ll have some new “WINTER” cocktails shortly, or what I like to call it: “Everything around me is cold & dead and all I want to do is drink Mexican hot chocolate under fur blankets until April”. I’m not above calling a cocktail “(Lil)Let It Go”, so expect that one. #sorrynotsorry.

Pillar of Autumn
1 oz bourbon whiskey (Berkshire Mountain Distillers)
1 oz Applejack (bonded if you roll like that)
1/2 Averna amaro
3/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes cedar cherry bitters (Apothecary Bitters)
1/3 of McIntosh apple, peeled + small piece of ginger, peeled
2 barspoons of real maple syrup

Take about 1/3rd of a peeled apple, chop it into smaller chunks and add to empty shaker. Add the peeled piece of ginger and muddle them together until you’ve extracted most of the juice.

Add the lime juice, bitters, Averna, bourbon & Applejack to the shaker, along with the maple syrup.

Fill shaker with ice and take it for a ride until chilled.

Double strain into a chilled glass. No garnish needed.

[ Enjoy ]

Initially I made this with Virgil Kane’s ginger-infused bourbon which is DELICIOUS and if you have the chance, definitely check them out, be it for this drink or simply to sip it on a leisurely walk at the park. I wasnt able to find enough of it around to make it the basis of this cocktail however, hence the muddled ginger.

Heart of Darkness

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Don’t try and use lemongrass as a straw. It just doesn’t work and you end up winded as f*ck.

I’m letting you know that this drink is a pain in the ass to make. I shouldn’t say that when the whole point of my site is to provide cocktail recipes that anyone can make but it’s a delicious labor of love for what it’s worth. For that I’d advise that if anyone reading this actually decides to make it, make a lot of it. You’ll find that its remarkably easy to drink and if you enjoy Thai food (I do and I find that remarkably easy to eat. All of it) then this is a drink that’ll have a lot of those familiar flavors and aromas.

Lets get this out of the way: making your own tamarind juice is delicious but it’s kinda gross to work with. You buy this block of seedless pulp (@ basically any Asian market), then you have to warm it up, strain it, dilute it, bottle it. But once you’re done, you have this nice tarty juice that has this subtle acidity to it that’s just begging to be used in cocktails. Because of said acidity/tartness, I didn’t really use much citrus in this drink and if you use more tamarind, you may not even need any at all.  If you already make your own ginger beer, then I highly advise you use it here. Especially if you make it with a lot of that ginger spice (not that one but you know you were into them at some point. Don’t lie to yourself).

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Spiced rum
Tamarind juice
Allspice dram
Angostura bitters
palm sugar / lemongrass  simple*

This drink is a take on the ‘Dark & Stormy’ which is pretty much a rum based Moscow Mule. So to make it more interesting, I added a lot of South East Asian flavors to make it more unique.

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*For the palm sugar / lemongrass simple:
Instead of using regular simple, take 1 part palm sugar (natural sugars from coconut trees) to equal part water; Add to that a couple 4″ pieces of fresh lemongrass  (pro tip: beat them up a bit with a muddler to loosen  up the fibers and release its flavors). Boil. simmer. cool. strain. bottle. You know the drill.

1 3/4 oz Sailor Jerry spiced rum
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3/4 oz palm sugar / lemongrass simple
3/4 oz tamarind juice
1 wedge of lime (bout an 1/8 of a lime in size)
Shake all of the above and strain into a Collins glass with some fresh ice.
Top up with ginger beer (Fever Tree here).
Garnish with a stick of lemongrass, a lime wheel and a kaffir lime leaf.
[ Enjoy ]

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Remedies

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You guys, I’ve had a cold now for what feels like the majority of my adult life. You may know it more commonly referred to as “the vapors“. In all honesty, I’m not sure that’s even remotely similar but if it deals with throwing your hand over your brow whilst holding a dainty handkerchief and fainting all over the place, then they might as well be the same thing. Know this: Its been snowing every. fucking. day. here in New England and I’m kinda done with this cold weather business. Done.

In a cry for help, I decided to take matters into my own hands and “cure” myself with some liquor, a large pizza and a marathon session of Girls. What resulted from that was no better or worse than where I started. In fact, I may have eaten too much pizza and Girls has gotten pretty weird lately – FOCUS, Raul! – Drinks. Yes. Basically, I had leftover ginger/honey/thyme syrup from my previous post that lent itself wonderfully to flavors usually associated with cold medicine: honey, ginger, lemon, cherry, chamomile, hard alcohol. All there. So here’s a little something fun to play with. Two drinks to improve your spirits (even when people say NOT to consume alcohol when taking certain cold medicine… But we know that’s BS anyway, AMIRIGHT?!), even if its just for a moment.    

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Normally I write a quick rundown of the type of ingredients needed but since I gave you the ‘ol “switcheroo” here and made 2 in 1. I’m not gonna do that this time. Instead, I will share a ‘Snapple cap’ fact from a tasty lemon ice tea I had the other day:

“You will die alone”

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Santo Remedio

1 1/2 oz El Tesoro Platinum tequila
1/2 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz G/H/T syrup
3/4 part lime juice
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Add all to a Boston shaker. Yes, it has to be a Boston Shaker. You don’t have one? Well then good day to you, sir. …but… I SAID, GOOD DAY.
JK. I would never shun you like that. That’s a task best left for family members or loved ones.
Shake it fast. Or in my case, poorly, when you realize that all your strength has left you.
Dont even bother double straining if you’re sick. You wont even feel the ice shards like you would normally.
[ Now enjoy this sweet, sweet medicine ]

The Best Remedy

No association to this wonderful site, which is on my reading list.

2 oz Grey Goose Le Citron vodka
1 eye-dropper of Bitterman’s Boston Bittahs (contains chamomile I’m told
3/4 oz G/H/T syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice

Take everything. EVERYTHING and just dump it all in a cup or zip-lock bag. You choose.
Shake if you’re able and strain into a rocks glass with a piece of ice that’s bigger than my head (FYI: I’ve been told (by my fiance, mainly) that I have an abnormally large head).
Between you and me, I didn’t even bother straining on my first run (there were a few). That ice was delicious.
[ Enjoy ]

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Wanderlust

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Wanderlust. I mean, the name says it all, right? No? Ok…

I’ve been working on this drink for a while and it seems that every time I make it, I either forget the ratios, what goes in it or simply end up calling it something different. At one time, I was cracking black pepper in it. Yeah. That happened. But then my meds kicked in (Rogaine if you must know) and all is well. I was calling it “The Doubleblack” too, which is just egocentric really, tho if you knew me, you’d say “hmm. that makes sense”. On the egocentric part. The name was shit and hence, while listening to Bjork recently, I photoshop’d the name on a picture, which around these here parts means it’s permanent. Just like your life’s most embarrassing mistakes.

I’ve professed my love for blood oranges in the past and since they’re going out of style faster than overalls in the late 90’s, I wanted to make one last drink to rule them all [where my ‘lord of the rings’ nerds at?! -crickets-].

This cocktail aims to be playful (like me, you guys!) and although it may seem all over the place (like me, you guys!), I like it cause it has a bit of whimsy (no), which is never a bad thing in life. The nigori sake and the gin (Junipero here. My new bff) go great together and the thyme/ginger/elderflower combo brings out some nice earthy—record stops— who am I?! I can’t tell you if I taste coffee beans while sipping an espresso, much less can I point out notes and shit. Know this: Its very pretty (seductive even), has tons of flavor and it packs a punch.

Cautionary tale:
My lovely Liliana (future Mrs. Zelaya who takes many of the photos on this blog) was sipping a bit extra I had poured in a shot glass while taking this picture, and once she was done, while giggling on the couch, confessed she was, as they say in the olden days: “a little fucked up”. 5 minutes later, she was out like a black rhino in the savannah after being hit in the ass with a tranquilizer dart (NOTE to self: make a drink called black rhyno. I called dibs!).

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Dry gin
Junmai nigori sake
Elder flower liquor
Bitters
honey/ginger/thyme syrup *
blood orange juice

To make the syrup:
3 parts water
2 parts clover honey
1 part fresh grated ginger
3 branches of thyme

boil. simmer. strain. bottle.

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1 part Junipero gin
1 part Rihaku junmai nigori sake
1/2 part St Germain elderflower liquor
1/2 eye-dropper of Bitterman’s Xocolatl Mole bitters
3/4 part blood orange juice
1/2 part honey/ginger/thyme syrup*

baby shaking syndrome time…
pour in a rocks glass or my favorite: DIRECTLY INTO YOUR MOUTH
garnish with 1/2 slice of blood orange & thyme branch.
[Enjoy]

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Moscow Mule

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Enter the dragon mule. This cocktail is best kicked back (see what I did there?! …you know… cause mules ki… ANYWAYS) in a frosted copper mug (it doesn’t have to but man does it make it recognizable) while imbibing with friends. Or alone, if that’s your thing but really, don’t be that guy.
i prefer to use Russian vodka in my mules, simply because it makes it feel authentic. Though this cocktail wasn’t invented in Russia, it would feel weird to drink it with vodka from another country. Kinda like kissing your cousin. Unless thats your thing, but for fuck sake, really try not to be that guy.
Its crazy simple, is open to so many variations and its fun ’cause you get to build it in the copper mug itself.

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Vodka
Lime juice
Ginger beer

I use Stoli Gold vodka in my mules but it is very common to see ‘Russian Standard’ used, which in a drink like this, is more than serviceable.

As for the ginger beer, this is really the key ingredient in a great mule, so the better the beer, the better the taste. I’ve used Maine Root ginger beer here.

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Build your mules within the copper mugs. There’s no shame in doing it all in the shaker and then topping off your mug with the ginger beer but I’m pretty sure that your street cred (the one you’ve been working on so hard over the last 15 minutes) will be all but erased. Your call, tough guy.

4 parts Stoli Gold Vodka
1 part lime juice
Fever-Tree Ginger Beer

Take your sweet-ass copper mug and fill it about 1/2 way with crushed ice.
add the 4 parts of vodka and the freshly (oh so fresh and so clean) squeezed lime juice.
Add some of that ginger beer that has been waiting for its turn, but leave some room.
Stir it a bit with your barspoon [not nearly as much as you would a martini]
Add a bit more crushed ice to make it look pretty and keep it chilled.
Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel [some folks add a cucumber spear but I don’t get that]
[Enjoy]

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Debutante

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I turned 31 this past month and I’ve realized something: I’m kind of a dick.
While there’s many [oh so many] reasons why those closest to me I would think that’s true, in this particular case it’s due to my new restaurant/bar ritual:
step 1. Check out the bar, the liquor and layout.
step 2. Check out the bartenders. Not like that.
step 3. Check out their drink menu. Study it even. Like Im gonna write a thesis on it.
step 4. Order 2 cocktails off of it, watch them make it and then stare at it for a prolonged period of time.
step 5. Taste the cold beverage. Never with a straw.
step 6. [MOST of the time] tear it a new asshole. Then force offer my fiance to give it a sip.

Basically I’m “sizing” myself up to the person working the bar, reverse engineer the drink in my head (proportions,
brands, ingredients, etc) and then I pretentiously start to bitch about it and how I would do it better.
I would stop this unhealthy behavior if I didn’t like it so much. I mean, its basically my new favorite hobby [aside from discovering daily on how much I’m turning into my father].

This is wrong. I’ve never worked @ a bar so I have no place in saying I would do it better but when you don’t know
how to make common drinks or don’t know how to balance a cocktail but you expect me to pay +/- $10.oo for it, you’re just asking for it.

There is a silver lining out of this however, in that I get new ideas for drinks to make @ home [aka the Death To Sour Mix headquarters] or many times try and make those drinks what I want them to be.

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Grey Goose Le Citron vodka
Domaine de Canton
Lemon juice
peaches
ginger

I got the idea for this drink while @ CityBar in the Lenox Hotel, Boston. There is was called “Peach-Ginger Martini” and it was very sweet but I liked the idea of the ingredients enough to give it a go.

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Note before you cut the peach:
A nice garnish for this is to use 2 pieces of the round exterior of a peach and make a mini-cookie-like sandwich out of them, which is subtle and very much edible if desired.

Use about 1/2 of a ripe peach and 2 small slices of ginger into your glass and muddle them until its just a straight up messy in there.
Pour in 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add 1 part Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and 3 parts of the vodka
shake it like I taught you and double strain it to get rid of those bits of fruit.
[Enjoy]

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Norma Jean

2 parts rye whiskey [ Bulleit ]
1 part ginger liquor [ Domain de Canton ]
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
2 orange slices [ cut a nice round slice and again down the middle ]
3 slices of fresh ginger
Grapefruit bitters [ Scrappy’s ]

I came up with this drink when thinking of old school Hollywood and the idea that they weren’t from there but rather migrated there (like geese. beautiful, majestic geese) from a much humbler setting. It’s also a riff on a simpler drink called ‘Alcatraz’ from The American Cocktail.
This isn’t exactly something one of those fancy ol’ gals would drink but it is something that i think the man sitting with them would. Unless they only have Bourbon, in which case they’ve probably ordered an old fashioned…er…but that’s a drink for another day.

How to:
Take the orange slices, the ginger and the lemon juice; Muddle them sensually real good.
Add the ginger liquor, whiskey and a couple dashes of grapefruit bitters.
Shake it to wake it up, not put it to sleep (as Chris Mcmillian would say)!
Pour into a rocks glass with a big block of ice and garnish with an orange slice…or whatever you want. Its your party.
[ Enjoy ]