vodka

Lost in Translation

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The purpose of a great craft cocktail, one made with thought, skill and care, is to delight.

 

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Holy crap did this post take FOREVER! I was planning on posting this at least 2 weeks ago and then I may have been abducted by aliens (the non-butt-probing kind) or something ’cause I never got around to sharing this delightful post with all of you wonderful alcoholics humans.

I have an upcoming “educational” (say what?!) post on sake where I lie to you all with non-confirmed facts (mainly because I was too lazy to “bing it”) about that deliciousness from Japan. It’ll basically be a “rule of thumb” type of post if you’re interested in sake to sip it instead of boring wine (if you’re feeling sexy) or to mix it with other spirits (if you’re feeling adventurous). In that post I go over soju (used here) which is not a sake but if you can keep a secret, I’ll have you know that this stuff makes for a fantastic vermouth sub. Yup.

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  • Soju/Shochu
  • Vodka
  • Apricot Eau De Vie
  • Triple-Sec
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup

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Soju or Shochu? At this point its the same thing. Soju is traditionally from Korea, while Shochu is of Japan. This Kaikouzo Soju is actually Shochu marketed as soju. Usually they are all under 25% ABV and are distilled very much like a neutral grain spirit (potatoes used quite often), with the master distiller infusing flavor throughout the process or at the very end.

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I wanted to make it easier to start remembering hot to make my drinks. This is a simple stirred drink in a 4,3,2,1 method where you start with one spirit and from there you add 1/4 less of the next. Yeah that was confusing:

1 oz Kaikouzo Soju
3/4 oz Imperia Vodka
1/2 oz Metté apricot Eau De Vie
1/4 oz Cointreau
2 dashes of Dr. Adam Elmegiram’s Teapot Bitters
1 dash of simple syrup (just a dash)

Add all into a chilled mixing glass full of ice and stir. With every drink you make you’ll start refining your stirring technique. When I started, I was a subtle as a blender on max. It was ugly.

Strain into a smaller martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

[ Enjoy ]

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This drink plays close to a vodka martini, what with its crystal clear appearance and velvet flavors. The soju itself could potentially be used as a blanc vermouth of sorts, but there is definitely a broader flavor profile in it making you want to sip it slow to let those flavors do their work. 

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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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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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Vesper

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Bond, James Bond. Unfortunately, in the real world, saying your own name like that to someone you just met wont ever sound as cool. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ll sound like an asshole; More so if you follow it up with some awkward, clammy handshake. Just don’t.

I don’t have the balls to ever order this drink @ a bar. It just feels wrong. Maybe its because it has a connotation of making you feel like a ‘wannabe’, and the only wannabe that I want to be is your lover. But first I gotta get with your friends. Wait. What?

Regardless of my mental breakdown above, this cocktail is actually balanced, sexy and my god is it strong [full disclosure: I made myself one right before going to watch Skyfall last night. Yeah. That was fun]. All things that 007 evokes.  I mean, all it needs is to be served in a l’il tuxedo.

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3 parts gin
1 part vodka
1/2 part lillet
lemon twist

Gin is the prominent ingredient here, and given the crisp qualities that we’re aiming for, it’s best served with a more balanced dry gin, such as No.3 (used here), Greenhook or even Tanqueray.

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The original Vesper called for Gordon’s gin. Yeah, some things just don’t hold up with time and I cant in good faith have you destroy this cocktail with that shit. There’s better gin out there so no tears were shed; The same cant be said for the Kina Lillet, which hasn’t been produced in years.

Take the gin, vodka, Lillet and basically beat the shit out of them, really.
In the words of James Bond in Casino Royal when asked ‘shaken or stirred?':
“Do I look like a give a damn?”
Take a lemon twist, squeeze some of the oils onto the cocktail and dip it in.
[Enjoy]

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Le Doux Mule

2 parts pear vodka. [ Grey Goose La Poire ]
1/2 part fresh squeezed lime juice [ and I do mean FRESH ]
1/2 part ginger liquor. [ Domain de Canton ]
A little ginger beer just to top it off. [ don’t you dare use ginger ale ]

Moscow Mule’s get assembled within the mug they’re made in but this is a classy lady, so we’re gonna at least buy her dinner

How to:
Fill a rocks glass to the top with cracked ice.
Pour the vodka, lime and liquor in a shaker, add some ice and shake.
shake it a bit less than what you normally would. Trust me.
Strain and pour into the rocks glass.
Top with the ginger beer.
Garnish her with a lime twist.
Double straws if you got ’em.
[ Enjoy ]