how-to

True Life: I’m Obsessed With Clear Ice

You can call me “Ice Man” from now on. No. Not like Val Kilmer in Top Gun (tho that volleyball scene amiright??!) but more like the ice-cream-man with the weird facial hair that you secretly buy popcicles from on the days you skip the gym, cause that is volumes more interesting to me. I spent a lot of time with my head in the freezer lately, boiling water and then burning myself with said hot water, breaking/cracking/biting/cutting ice, taking notes from sexy bartenders and listening to Vanilla Ice way more than I care to admit.

So it’s no secret that I’ve been writing for eHow every week for a little bit now (unless it was a secret and now you need to go read it all) and some of my favorite posts there were about the importance of ice in craft cocktails. So here are the 2 posts that make up the ice-series, which is a horrible way to refer to them and I hate myself a little bit more for having just done that:

Cocktails 101: The Importance Of Ice

bug ice block at the baldwin bar

Fact: Ice is kind of a big deal in cocktails. It provides balance and temperature, and in many cases it adds to the visual appeal of a drink. Different drinks require different forms of ice (e.g., a Moscow Mule versus an Old Fashioned) but the main, unifying factor comes down to its quality.

It’s probably safe to say that if you’re reading this, you can make a bunch of ice in a matter of hours — unless you’re out in the wilderness somewhere with amazing cellphone reception, in which case I’ll make myself a chilled cocktail in your honor. The problem with the ice you make at home is that it’s not very good for cocktails. That ice was designed to be added to Tang (the official drink of astronauts) or maybe some super-sweetened ice tea. So what makes for quality ice and why does it even matter?

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/ehow-food/blog/cocktails-101-the-importance-of-ice/

Craft Cocktails: How to Make Clear Ice

ice_hero_eHow

You know that scene from Frankenstein where you have the guy devilishly screaming “It’s alive!…It’s aliiiiiive!”? Well, if you ever wanted to feel that level of joy (and pain) in the comfort of your pajamas while you simultaneously battle a hangover, have I got something for you!

So last week I talked about the importance of quality ice in cocktails and left it with a “cliffhanger” ending. promising a no-nonsense how-to on making some gorgeous-looking ice at home.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/ehow-food/blog/craft-cocktails-how-to-make-clear-ice/

This post is more of an oddity and I wont tend to post those articles here but if by some act of God I happen to write & shoot something that is (as they would say in Germany) “wunderbar“, then you bet your sweet ass that it’ll be all-up-on-this but I have a couple tasty recipes coming up until that day comes.

MxMo: Cosmopolis

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“Find 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”
-Frederic Yarm

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This month’s MxMo pulled me out of retirement (more on that later). I missed the last one and wasn’t gonna let the same thing happen again, especially with Frederic of CocktailVirgin fame (fancy-shmancy writer at large) and big Kahuna to Mixology Monday. I liked this month’s theme a lot. Whenever there’s a chance to take something old and make it new, I’m all over that. I mean. Isn’t that what mixology is all about?

As soon as I read the stipulations of MxMo LXXV I immediately thought of this great video I watched a while back by Nils Boese. So really its a series of videos (ALL IN GERMAN!) where this guy teaches you how to make classic drinks (and how to wear the tightest shirt possible) but every now and then he’ll throw something random (like a Jaeger negroni) and I’ll be feverishly trying to translate it, like an asshole, until I give up. How much are German lessons?

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  • Junipero gin
  • Cointreau
  • Leopold Bros Cranberry liqueur
  • Lime juice

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Not all cranberry juice is created equal. I stay the hell away from any juice from concentrate (aka sour mix) so in this case, I’ve replaced the cranberry juice for liqueur. It works surprisingly well and the one from Leopold Bros is nice and tarty without tasting like syrup.

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Surprising absolutely no one, this drink is pretty damn easy. The idea here is for a pleasant gin cocktail with familiar flavors enhanced by the botanicals in a good gin that vodka just simply doesn’t have, along with the richness of the liqueur. 

1 1/2 oz Junipero gin (or your favorite gin with citrus notes)
-substituted the citron vodka for a dry gin with citrus notes.
1 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Leopold Bros. cranberry liqueur
-substitutes the cranberry juice
1/2 oz lime juice

Add all these little creatures into your mixing apparatus and turn it into something tasty.
Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange peel, after pressing its oils on top of the drink.

[ Enjoy ]

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To my left are the proportions used for a common Cosmopolitan. In fact, that drink in the back is a 100% legit cosmo… that I’m actually drinking right now… For this specific iteration with the gin, I would advice crankin’ up the lime to 3/4 oz, as it plays better with the liqueurs’ sweetness.

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DIY or Bust

I made a drink for this week; It has a name and I even photopshopped the typography for it which came out pretty rad…BUT I’ve decided I want to build a couple of soft boxes to amp up my photography. I owe it to all those south-east Asian spammers that comment on my blog daily to give them the best damn photos a DIY budget can buy. So no drink this week. But we’re friends so HERE.

Lion’s Tail

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If you’ve never been to Drink [in the now frozen tundra that is Boston], the place consists of connected bars where they tailor cocktails based on your preference and suggest different drinks in accordance to it. That’s probably an accurate, yet oversimplification of this place but if you know what you like or want to try new things, this is definitely the place.

Some of our libations from that evening:

a vodka Monkey Gland.
a Pegu Club style gin-gin mule(?) Warning: drinking this was like tasting chocolate for the first time.
Dead Man’s Mule (shutTheFrontDoor was this good)
Chartreuse tasting [I now know the difference between the 2, you guys!]
Allspice Dram sampling [This is what lead to the conversation on the Lion’s Tail]

…basically anything with their in-house ginger beer could not go into my mouth fast enough.

This cocktail, though not my “favorite of all time!” is special because it was given to me as a birthday gift. Not the drink itself, but the knowledge of it, in the form of a hand written recipe [taken from some old looking book from the back of the bar], along with a tiny bottle of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram wrapped in tape with the words “happy birthday”. It was a night of first (I’ve never been 31 until that day. I think Im doing fine with this age. I could do without the peeing blood part but that’s normal, right?), I’d never been to Drink and I had never met such a bad-ass working the stick as Estrellita, our bartender for the evening.

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Bourbon whiskey
Allspice Dram
Lime juice
Demerara syrup*
Angostura

*I first tested this out with regular simple syrup (1/1) before making some Demerara syrup and I gotta say, it really is better with the Demerara, as it gives it a subtle difference in the sweetness along with reinforcing the rich color of this drink.

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The real point of focus here, where your drink will really excel is the Bourbon, as the cocktail itself can be slightly on the sweet side in itself, you’d want to stay away from sweeter tasting bourbons (Maker’s Mark for example. Though that is still my favorite for a whiskey sour) and just the same, you don’t want to kill it with something that’s gonna kick its ass (I’m looking at you 101 wild turkey).

1 3/4 part Wild Turkey 81 bourbon
1/4 part St Elizabeth allspice dram
1/2 part lime juice
1/2 part demerara syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters

shake it like it owes you money.
double strain into a martini/coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
[Enjoy]

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La Cubanita

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I intended to name this post “The eternal struggle for Bank’s 5 Island Rum” but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So instead I made a drink inspired by the infuriatingly-hard-to-find rum (in the NorthEast at least) which I finally got a couple weeks ago after a +month long search, along with my own variation on the daiquiri.

The funny part is that I’m not the biggest fan of rum; I enjoy a refreshing mojito just as much as the next guy, trust me, but most of the pretentious cocktails I enjoy are old ones that don’t call for rum. You know who loves drinks with rum tho?! Women… and pirates. I know that may sound a bit sexist but try and think of as many cocktails with rum as you can….now tell me who you pictured drinking them? If you answered my sister (sorry, Flor) then you are correct.

So this one’s for them; For the ladies [but the fellas’ can enjoy it just as well].

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Bank’s 5 Island Rum
Velvet Falernum
Lime juice
Blood orange juice
Grenadine

Finding a bottle of this rum will probably be my highest achievement for 2012. What can I say, I aim low.

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2 parts Bank’s 5 Island Rum
1/2 part Lime juice
3/4 part Blood orange juice
1/2 part velvet falernum
1 barspoon of Grenadine [NOT that cheap shit puh-lease]

Pour into a shaker, add ice and beat the devil out of it.
Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a blood orange wheel or a lime wheel.
[Enjoy]

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It’s all about the shake

Since moving, I haven’t been able to make anything worth a damn (I tried making a gin fizz @ my new place but forgot I didn’t have simple syrup… used velvet falernum instead and yeah, it…yeah, lets just leave it at that) and until I get my act together [got a SWEET new bar for the kitchen that I need to show off soon], I’ll be drinking other people’s cocktails instead.

Saturday night, I was lucky enough to be invited to our friend’s lovely engagement party. This thing was fancy-as-fuck and we met all kinds of great people – wait. This is a blog about cocktails, not how to be a social butterfly (which, lets be honest, I am) – So the bartender there (yeah, told you it was fancy) was this nice girl doing her best but it dawned on me, while watching her work the stick, that she had a weak-ass shake.

Even if the finished product was a tasty, aerated, properly diluted drink, watching someone shake it awkwardly is probably just as bad as watching someone try and hold a baby for the first time. There’s a certain confidence that comes with watching a controlled and smooth shake. Nothing fancy. No flourishes, nor spectacle bullshit. Just an experienced shake. It tells you that what you’re about to sip is going to be exactly what you wanted it to be; Even if it isn’t.

Moral of the story: work on your shaking skills, kids! Not only for yourself but for your guests.