ice

Rum Is The New Black

This is my absolute favorite way to enjoy a rum old fashioned. It has sweetness, depth and a smoothness that makes it hard to resist whenever I look at my bottles of rum.

Autumn is here. I’m not a beach person (even though I got that beach bod! FELLAS, AMIRIGHT?! …laughs alone in an empty room that smells oddly like dog farts), so the idea of summer going away, much like that gross pimple you got on your nose a few weeks back, is a welcomed treat cause now we get to talk about pumpkins! Hey, I wont try and tell you how to live your life but if #pumpkintalk isn’t something you’re having with random strangers ad-nauseam these days, well friend, you need Jesus.

I like the fall for drinking. I mean, I like ANY-FUCKING-SEASON for drinking but the fall brings with it a more relaxed sense of imbibing that is simply lost in the summer, where it’s all about “QUICK POUR THAT COLD DRINK IN MY MOUTH AS FAST AS YOU CAN! I’M WEARING FLIP FLOPS AND A CROP-TOP SO OBVIOUSLY I DON’T HAVE ANY TIME TO WAIT FOR SOME FANCY SHIT” …something like that. Where “autumn drinking” is more along these lines:

“Oh. Hello there. Didn’t see you there while I was admiring my new boots and super-cute scarf. Take your time and stir me up a drink that I can sip while reminding everyone on social media how much of a “fall person” I am. Oh and can you make it taste like a pumpkin spice latte?!”

Those were not aimed at anyone other than myself. But we can talk about my new boots later…

Anyone can make a quality rum Old Fashioned by simply replacing the whiskey for rum (or for mezcal like in a Oaxacan Old Fashioned) but this one is a bit different with the syrup used and the addition of the cacao. It rounds out with the lower notes of the rum that make it a smooth sip without being overtly sweet

Rum Is The New Black

2 1/2 oz Phraya premium gold rum

1/4 oz Thai syrup*

1 dash Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters

1 dash Bittermen’s Taza Chocolate extract

*For the Thai simple:
take 1 part palm sugar (natural sugars from coconut blossoms) to equal part water; Add to that a couple 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.

In a mixing glass, add all these ingredients with some nice pieces of ice and stir.
Double strain into a rocks glass with a nice chunk of ice & press a grapefruit peel
over the top, serving as a garnish as well.

[ Enjoy ]

I make these with Phraya rum (a premium rum from Thailand) but really, it’s hard to go wrong with whatever aged, quality rum you have; Be it Appleton reserve, El Dorado or Diplomatico Reserva. Let me know what your favorite sipping rum is in the comments!

 

Almondo

If you like drinks that are different, this is one of those. Tart from the citrus and the sherry, sweet from the orgeat and smoky from the mezcal & hot sauce. If you have some spicy bitters you’ve been meaning to use again, now is the time

Mic check, 2-1-2. Sibilance… Sibilance… Sorry, its been a while so I wanted to prepare to write this in the same fashion I would prep for my one-man-show at random Boston train stations. What would that show consist of, you ask?! I’m not sure. Probably me crying and sweating in equal amounts while I drink Everclear out of a pink flask; Hey, you asked. I felt it was time to start writing again, but since my writing was never really good to begin with, I can only imagine this is gonna’ hurt you more than it hurts me. But hey, maybe you’re in need of a good dick joke today so perhaps this works out in the end?! It probably won’t.

So lets get this out of the way: I’ve been gone for a long time. Life has been complicated (to put it lightly) lately and I took some time off. To those of you that had made bets on me having lost-my-fucking-mind and was last seen running naked and scared in the beautiful New England wilderness: close. Pretty damn close but no. Fun fact for like 2 of you: the woods scare the shit out of me. I mean, they’re so damn quiet and there’s no cocktail bars, nor hair salons for miles; Add to that the fact that everyone I know that does go camping, somehow ends up packing a bottle of Fireball on every trip… I’m good. Really. I’m good.

I made my own orgeat for some tasty mai-tais a while back (which you can read about HERE) and thought: mezcal… for some reason. But hey, it works. Tequila will get the job done here (when all else fails in life, you know tequila wont #ladiesamiright?!) but the backbone that comes with quality mezcal (Montelobos here) really gives it more weight.

Almondo

2 oz Amontillado sherry [ Lustao ]

1 oz mezcal [ Montelobos ]

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz orgeat [ YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN ]

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 dashes of hot sauce [ Cholula ]

Add all the ingredients in your shaker tin, add a bunch of ice and wake it up.

Strain into a chilled collins glass with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

[ Enjoy ]

The major modifier here would be the sherry. I played around with Oloroso, which was way too dry and ended with Amontillado which had a lovely sweetness but I’m curious if a good Manzanilla would work just right here. If you enjoy sherry cocktails, let me know what some of your favorites are.

 

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.

Harlow & Sage

Estamos de regreso con una nueva serie the bebidas utilizando tequila como la base principal, jugando con la idea the mezclar regiones…. JK. The blog is still in English. For now.

Hello again, muchachas and welcome to the last post which features the stellar photography by Lyudmila Zotova. Hopefully there will be more down the line with her (or other rad people out there!) but there was only so much you can do in a couple hours. Though I do believe Sting would disagree with that statement.

I was recently told that my drinks, interesting as they may seem, are not always easy to make due to some of the ingredients not being so easy to find. My initial reaction was: Oh fuck. What do you mean you cant find a rare form of gum Arabic that only grows in a tiny region of Africa?! You mean to tell me not everyone has access to the vast options of booze we swim in (like Scrooge McDuck) here in Boston?!

I want there to be a big range of cocktails you can make anywhere but I also like introducing readers to new products that I believe are exciting and new in the arena of craft cocktails but I’ll make an effort to make them as accessible as possible moving forward, with the occasional sumptuous tipple.

*Remember a while back when I posted this gin drink (which I’ve since updated so do check it out) where I used this fun syrup made from guava juice and sage ?!? No? It’s totally cool. We’re still friends but I will NEVER forget this betrayal.

I was just fucking around with the idea of tiki but with “Spanish flair”. What that means exactly, I don’t know. But I imagine it would be like me going out to a bar wearing a Hawaiian shirt, those sweet shoes bullfighters wear and a Mexican sombrero. If you wear this exact combination when you go out, please don’t. Just. don’t

Once you’ve made the syrup and placed it in some form of bottle or empty milk carton, you can start cranking these out in no time. My wife gets thirsty real quick so I’ve learned to make these in about 8 seconds. I know better now. Oh no, I think she’s coming…

Harlow & Sage

2 oz reposado tequila [ Espolon ]

3/4 oz Licor 43

1 1/2 oz guava & sage syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

several dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Measure and pour all except for the bitters in a shaker
Add some ice (ice), baby?
Beat the hell out of it and strain into a glass full of crushed ice
Hit it with the Peychaud’s bitters at the top to give it a nice red color
Garnish with sage leaves / kaffir lime leaves, an orange peel or a picture of me.

[ Enjoy ]

I used fresh guava for the syrup in this recipe BUT you can literally use ANY fresh fruit and I bet you it will work, as long as it’s sweet in nature with a strong backbone. This would go perfect with stone fruit like peaches mirabelle plums just to name a few.

Eventing: Negroni Week 2014

The Negroni; A drink that to be completely honest, I just couldn’t get into for the longest time. In all fairness, you go to 5 different bars and they might serve you that cocktail 5 different ways. My favorite “custom iteration” was always the shaken, no vermouth, cheap gin with muddled orange. Mmmm… if I could be sippin’ on that mutated horror this very second…

While I’m on the matter, can we all agree that Negronis served ‘up’ in a martini glass is kind of weird? Like “people that date their cousins” weird. “Oh, thank you for serving me a cocktail that will no doubt get real warm, real quickly cause I intended to sip this gingerly while I waited to ease my way into a night out with friends, but fuck it, I’m gonna be hammered now!”. Thank you, friend.

So what is Negroni week? It’s an event sponsored by Imbibe & Campari where a portion of every Negroni sold at a participating bar between June 2nd – 8th goes to charity. “Drinking For A Cause” is the name of the game.

As we all know, a “classic” Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari & sweet vermouth. Thats it. You just stir that stuff up and pour it in some ice with an orange peel and you got yourself a stew, baby. I never liked the original formula; Found it much too sweet. It wasn’t until I saw Jim Meehan (of PDTNYC fame) doing a 2 parts gin to 1 part sweet vermouth & Campari that I really started enjoying them. So much in fact, that it’s my go-to drink at any bar (with a lemon peel tho). Then I found this spin on the classic:

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila zotova (photographer extraordinaire) for Death to Sour Mix.

So have yourself a few classic Negronis this coming week, be it at home or at a participating bar if you want to feel good about yourself (careful you don’t feel “too good”) but then try this one on for size:

2 oz Junipero gin (Plymouth works wonders)
1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Averna amaro
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters

Pour into a mixing glass and stir.
Pour into a rocks glass w/ ice
Garnish with an orange peel.
[ Enjoy ]

Minty Dollar

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“Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep”

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Today marks the start of the Kentucky Derby. And that friends was my extent of Derby knowledge. I could have wiki’d something on the matter, pretended I can point to where Kentucky is on a map or perhaps looked for horse pictures on the internet but that wont end well. When does it ever? All I know is that this time of the year, people start drinking Mint Juleps (and random variations of the classic drink/remedy) like they’re going out of style while speaking in southern accents (Oh, just me? You’re no fun).

So what is a mint Julep and how is it a craft cocktail? If anything, this is one of those deceptive drinks that look simple but to really enjoy one like it was intended, it does require some proper technique. At its most basic, it’s bourbon, water, fire, heart! …With your powers combined, I am Capt– No ‘Planeteers’ in the crowd?! I judged my audience wrong. Again. So yeah, at its most basic level, a Mint Julep is Bourbon whiskey, water, sugar and mint. That’s it. But its getting all those pieces to work together is where the craft comes in.

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  • Kentucky bourbon
  • Fernet Branca
  • Absinthe
  • Simple sirup
  • mint leaves

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The sip should be fragrant, slightly sweet and depending on the bourbon you’re using, it would then take its charming characteristics. Delicious. No wonder people were drinking this shit as a remedy back in the day.

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Some folks like using mint-infused simple syrup and that’s probably the easiest and best way to get the great mint flavor combined but if you want to be a fancy southern belle (and who doesn’t?!), a silver cup is the way to go, and that calls for rubbing/muddling the mint around the borders of the cup.

I don’t own any silver (It’s not like I’m hunting werewolves or some shit) so I took a red ‘Dixie’ cup and painted it silver. Problem solved.

Here’s how I make a classic Mint Julep + my preferred version of one, which reduces the amount of Bourbon but adds Fernet Branca & a hint of absinthe.

The Mint Julep

2 1/2 oz Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1)
~10 mint leaves

Take the mint leaves in your hand and lightly rub them all around the inside of your cup.
Top up your cup with crushed ice.
Measure and pour the simple syrup over the ice.
Pour the bourbon over the ice in a circular motion to chill & dilute it as it reaches the bottom.
You’ll need to add a bit more crushed ice to the top, as in all likelihood it now looks like you dropped it.

The garnish being paramount in a Mint Julep, take a couple of the nicest mint sprigs you can find and slap them a bit before pinning them in the cup. Add a straw and you’re all set.

Minty Dollar

2 oz Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/8 oz St. George Absinthe Verte
~10 mint leaves

Take the mint leaves in your hand and lightly rub them all around the inside of your cup.
Fill your cup 3/4 of the way with crushed ice.
Measure and pour the bourbon, Fernet, absinthe and simple simple syrup into the cup.
Take a spoon and while holding the cup from the top, stir it in a fast up & down motion.
Now top up the cup with crushed ice to make it look nice and round.

Take a couple of the nicest mint sprigs you can find and slap them a bit before pinning them in the cup. Add a straw and done.

[ Enjoy ]

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With regards to ice, if you have an ice crusher, a) God bless you and b) Can I borrow it forever? If not, I find that a mallet and Lewis bag do the work just fine; With the added bonus of it being one hell of a stress relief.

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*Maker’s Mark generously provided the bourbon & julep cup for this post.

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Pins & Needles

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Here’s to the end of these damn holidays and to the bright beginning of a new year.

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I love the holidays. Especially new year’s. I have a questionable amount of red and green pants to prove it but in all honesty, I’m just happy that its over. I got real fat just grazing on chocolate, cookies & random seasonal beer this past month and no matter how much I heard that fucking Michael Bublé Christmas album, things just felt a bit off. So here’s to this new year and all the awesome things it may bring to you (but really, to me).

You may or may not know this but our petite Christmas tree, like way-too-many things in our life, had a name: Christopher. And I got the idea for this cocktail while picking it (him?) out with my equally petite wife in a sea of pine needles and sap. He (it?) was crooked-as-shit and had a horrible color but damn it if it wasn’t the best friend $23 (AMERICAN!) can buy, and not a day goes by that I dont…hmmm….that I dont…I miss that little rascal so much. Sorry. I got emotional there and it got ugly. Not as ugly as watching Jennifer Lawrence cry but very similar.

The idea here was to make something tiki-ish, for the cold-ass weather with spirits that reminded me of “being left for dead in a prickly pine forrest in the dead of winter”. Warm thoughts indeed. The pineapple gomme made sense to me as those edible grenades are just as prickly but finding the balance took a few tries. In fact it took me so long to get it right that it’s now mid-January -__-  fml.

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  • St. George Terroir Gin
  • Braulio
  • Zirbenz
  • Pineapple gomme
  • Lime juice

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I don’t make tall drinks like these often but anytime I get to whip out some straws and fancy ice cubes (which I am working on getting perfectly clear), it’s always a fun time. I wanted to garnish these with a little branch of a pine tree but I read somewhere that can be toxic? So yeah, garnishing with poison would be a bad call.

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This is one of those cocktails that you REALLY smell while you’re making it.  In the best of ways; Braulio has a great pine smell to it that is reinforced by the Zirbenz without losing any of its inviting aroma and without it smelling like you just wrestled a christmas tree. Though that.would.be.awesome.

2 oz St. George Terroir gin
1 oz Braulio amaro
1/2 oz Zirbenz stone pine liqueur
3/4 oz Small Hand Foods pineapple gomme
1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients in your shaker, but trying to look real cool when you do it.
Add ice and shake hard and fast.
Take a collins glass and top up with cubed ice.
Strain into the glass, garnishing with a lime wheel, rosemary sprig & straw.

[ Enjoy ]

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Braulio [ 'amaro alpino', not the artist ] is the star here but it can be subbed for Fernet Branca if needed, as it has similar qualities to it and should be easier to find (I had to travel to NY to get it). But for those amaro lovers that perhaps don't care much for the minty-ness of Fernet, then Braulio may be a great alternative.

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