Sir, Some Freshly Ground Pepper for my Drink!

So, all of the sudden I seem to be stumbling across cocktails with pepper in them. No, I’m not talking about Bloody Marys either. Here are two I’ve enjoyed recently:

Boris Karloff

  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 oz chilled club soda
  • Pinch each of finely grated lime zest and freshly ground pepper, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, sugar and egg white. Dry shake. Add ice and shake again.  Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass, stir in club soda and garnish with lime zest and pepper.

By Todd Thrasher, Food & Wine Cocktails ’09.

And one with cayenne pepper in it called the Tante Marie Fizz. I happen to have a bottle of the Whitley Neill gin and it’s very nice in this cocktail. I found this one through Saveur magazine. Click below to go to the recipe.

Tante Marie Fizz

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Comments (1)  

A Truly Interesting and Contemplative Quaff

Root - pic from artintheage.com

I was in Cask the other day and noticed a bottle of something called Root based on a root beer recipe.  I was tempted, but then dismissed it as probably being something nasty and artificial. I obviously forgot that I was in Cask and not BevMo because if Cask had it, it was probably worth checking out. When I got home I looked it up and was immediately intrigued enough to go back and buy a bottle.  It turns out that Root is an organic liqueur based on an alcoholic pre-prohibition “root tea” recipe, which eventually spawned the nonalcoholic root beer as we know it today (yeah, I know, go figure).  I could waste time writing about it or, I could go mix myself up a Root cocktail and you could watch this video instead.

I based the following cocktail on my favorite Heaven’s Dog Agricole Rum Punch. I used Root instead of the Allspice Dram and increased the quantity. I added a homemade vanilla syrup to the sugar cane syrup because root beer and vanilla…well, you know.

Root Ti’ Swizzle

  • .5 oz Root
  • 1.5 oz La Favorite Rhum Agricole Ambre
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz Martinique sugar cane syrup
  • .5 oz homemade vanilla syrup (rich simple syrup infused with Tahitian vanilla beans)

Combine ingredients in a 12 oz highball or double Old Fashioned glass.  Add crushed ice to top and swizzle thoroughly until well mixed and chilled. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Birthday, Donn!

Nui Nui at Banjolele Grotto, my summertime tiki bar

Today is Donn Beach’s birthday!  Born on February 22, 1907, Donn Beach, aka Don the Beachcomber (real name Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt) is the grand papa of the faux Polynesian bar/restaurant concept.  In other words, the TIKI BAR!  Donn created many amazing drinks, among them the infamous Zombie. One of my favorite Don the Beachcomber creations is the Nui Nui.  It combines rum, citrus and an alluring blend of spices to create a superb tropical drink.  According to the master of tiki drink lore, Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry, Donn created the Nui Nui in Hollywood in the mid-1930s, when it was first known as the Pupule. Here is the recipe from Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari:

Nui Nui

  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz cinnamon-infused sugar syrup
  • 1/4 oz Donn’s Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup & pimento liqueur)
  • 2 oz amber Virgin Islands rum
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) crushed ice
  • Spiral-cut orange peel (6 inches to a foot long)

Put everything in a blender – except orange peel – saving ice for last. Blend at high-speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a tall glass. Add crushed ice to fill. Sink the orange peel in the drink, with top of peel hanging over the glass.

Vanilla Syrup & Cinnamon Syrup

To make this drink the best it can be, I use freshly squeezed OJ and make my own syrups.  To make vanilla syrup combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water with a vanilla bean, split and scraped. Bring all to a simmer for a few minutes. Take off heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain into a clean bottle. I add a teaspoon of Wray & Nephew Overproof White rum as a preservative.  Make the cinnamon syrup the same way, using three crushed cinnamon sticks. Let sit for up to 2 hours before straining into a clean bottle.

Note: Pimento liqueur is also known as Allspice Dram. I use St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram which can sometimes be found at BevMo.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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More Olympic Cocktails

Flickr: TylerIngram

I don’t know about you, but here at the League we’ve been watching a lot of the Winter Olympic games.  Seeing all that snow and ice has inspired me to try some new drinks with the Olympic theme in mind. Here are a couple of the good ones:

Alpine Glow

  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 2 parts Lemon Juice
  • 4 parts Cognac  (I used Rémy Martin VSOP)
  • 4 parts Gold Label Rum (I used Appleton Estate V/X)
  • 1 or two dashes of grenadine to each drink (use a real pomegranate grenadine, not Rose’s)

This is from David A. Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948), hence the proportions instead of exact measurements. If you let 1 part equal an ounce, this will make 4 cocktails. Do some simple math and you can adjust it to your needs (frankly, this is about the only math I care to do these days).  I mixed this for the first time last night for my ol’ man and myself while watching some rad womens’ downhill action. It was a cocktail up to the event and one I will definitely add to my quiver. Try it, you’ll like it.

Also from Mr. Embury’s fine tome:

Olympic

  • 1 part Cherry Heering liqueur
  • 2 parts Lime Juice
  • 8 parts White Label Cuban Rum

As Mr. Embury points out, this is a basic Daiquiri with Cherry Heering substituted for the simple syrup. Obviously, the Cuban rum was unavailable, so I took some liberties and substituted 10 Cane Rum. This makes a tart, dry drink.

Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Oh Canada!

Flickr: qousqous

What does one drink while viewing the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics?  Here at the League we thought a Snowshoe seemed àpropos.  I recently learned of this drink through SLOSHED! A frosty, yet warming drink, the Snowshoe combines peppermint schnapps with bourbon for the perfect waiting-out-the-snowstorm-by-the-fire cocktail.  The recipe over at SLOSHED! calls for equal portions bourbon and schnapps, but I prefer it this way.

Snowshoe

  • 2 oz bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
  • 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps (I used Rumpleminze, as suggested by the folks at SLOSHED!)

Stir ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass and fill with crushed ice.  Stir again, sip and put your feet up by the fire.

After the Snowshoe, I mixed this up in honor of the 2010 Winter Games. I call it the

Vancouver Swizzle

  • 2 oz Laird’s 7-1/2 year old apple brandy (or use Calvados)
  • 1/2 oz Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica rum
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 oz grade B pure Canadian maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh-pressed apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 oz Meyer lemon juice, or regular lemon if not in season
  • 1/4 oz Allspice Dram
  • Dash Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel bitters
  • Dash Urban Moonshine Maple bitters

Mix ingredients in a highball and fill with crushed ice. Mix with a swizzle stick and settle down to watch some amazing Winter Olympics competition!

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 12:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Omnivore Books Punch Contest

Omnivore Books Punch Contest

The punch contest at Omnivore Books was lots of fun and a nice crowd showed up to taste-test.  There were 10 punch entries and I’m guessing 40-50 people showed up to drink punch.  At $5, it was a pretty good deal!  I decided to represent my home state and county (Monmouth County, NJ) with a Laird’s Applejack based punch.  Laird’s is America’s oldest native distillery and their recipe for Applejack was given to George Washington after he requested it.  They have a great product and history.  I was inspired in part by a classic applejack cocktail called the Applejack Rabbit, so I named my entry, Jersey Rabbit Punch.  I didn’t win, but a number of people told me that it was delicious, including Celia Sack, the owner of Omnivore Books, and the third-place winner told me that he voted for my punch, so hey, I’m holding my head high!

Jersey Rabbit Punch

The winner was a punch called “Mission Gutter Juice”.  The ingredients included Smirnoff Vodka, Fresca diet soda, Country Time Pink Lemonade powder, and Bud Light. They were also the only entrants that planned for a big crowd.  I thought I made a lot of punch, but after everyone else’s punch was gone, they were still mixing up new bowls for the crowd!  I’m guessing they’ve made this before…can you say party?

1st Place - Mission Gutter Juice

Mission Gutter Juice

The second-place winner was Jetsetter Punch.  It was a mixture of brandy, rum, cachaca, cava, green tea, and pineapple-nutmeg syrup.  Third place went to Kagetaka’s Grog, a persimmon vodka-based punch.  It was a fun time and frankly, I wish there were more punch contests in bookstores!

Kagetaka's Grog ingredient list

Jetsetter Punch

I was asked for the recipe for my entry, so here it is…enjoy!

Jersey Rabbit Punch

  • 6 cups Laird’s Applejack (About a 750 ml bottle and a half)
  • 1.5 cups Appleton Special Gold Jamaica Rum
  • 1 quart Odwalla fresh-pressed apple juice
  • 14 oz fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 6 oz Grade B pure maple syrup
  • 6 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • .5 oz Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Bitters
  • 1 750 ml bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider (chilled)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ice ring with lemon and lime (or apple slices)

Mix first 7 ingredients and chill.  When ready to serve empty into a large punch bowl.  Add the bottle of sparkling apple cider and stir.  Add ice ring to punch and grate nutmeg over the top of punch.

Jersey Rabbit Punch a few minutes before it was all gone!

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 8:26 pm  Comments (5)  
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Cocktail Grapefruit

Cocktail Grapefruit

Before I loved cocktails, I loved food.  And at a fairly early age, I fell in love with shopping for food.  Yes, I love grocery shopping.  I do.  I love to read the labels and thump the melons, stroll the aisles slowly, and peer at the new products. When I see something new to me, especially in the produce section (where things do not surprise me frequently), I stop and lean in for a closer look.  So when I saw the sign proclaiming Cocktail Grapefruit, I was intrigued.  I snapped a pic and brought one home.  It was much smaller than your average grapefruit and had a yellow inside when cut open.  Lots of seeds, but juicy, so I’m planning on using the juice rather than eat it for breakfast.  After doing a quick google, I found some more info on this petite pamplemousse.  It turns out it isn’t really a grapefruit at all, but a cross between a Frua Mandarin and a Pummelo.  It tastes like a grapefruit, but without the bitterness or sourness.  Kind of like a sweet grapefruit.  I’m going to buy some more and make a Cocktail Grapefruit Cocktail!  Stay tuned…

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm  Comments (3)  

Sweet and Lovely

Photo by Esther Kirby, Flickr

A little rough around the edges, but sweet and lovely all the same. Here is a cocktail from David A. Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948):

Sweet and Lovely

  • 1 part Maraschino & Grenadine (half and half)
  • 2 parts Lime Juice
  • 3 parts Gin
  • 5 parts Applejack

Shake with cracked ice.

Make sure you use Maraschino liqueur, not the juice from your maraschino cherry jar.  I substituted raspberry syrup for the grenadine which I liked, but either way would work. Just make sure to use real pomegranate grenadine and all will be good.

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Q & A with Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow mixin' it up. Photo by Eric Susch, Flickr.

No, no, don’t get all excited. I didn’t bump into Rachel Maddow on the bus and grill her about her cocktail preferences.  Imbibe Magazine had a great little Q & A with her, and if you want to read it for yourself click here.  I must say, the woman has excellent taste in cocktails.  Also, apparently we both share a love of rhum agricole and diet Dr. Pepper. (I try, but I just can’t stop!)  Rachel says that she likes her rye old fashioneds, hold the fruit.  In honor of her tonight I made a round of Rhum Agricole Punches for my guests (big fans of her, by the way) and then capped it off with an obscure rye cocktail from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails called The Japalac Cocktail. No, no again! I know what you’re thinking…how un-PC.  Well, as Dr. Cocktail points out, The Japalac just sounds bad…it’s actually just the name for an old-timey brand of quick-drying varnish. So, here it is, if you feel like getting varnished:

The Japalac Cocktail (1931)

Combine in an iced cocktail shaker, and shake and strain into a small cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange twist.

Drink Note: (by Ted Haigh) This is a prime example of  a classically proportioned pre-Prohibition-style cocktail. By modern standards, it is quite small.  Here, though, is the genius of the method: Unlike the highball, the julep, the sling, or the fizz, the cocktail is a powerful, largely undiluted bolt of unfettered flavor — and of alcohol. As such, small really does work best.

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 12:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fog City Hot Buttered Rum

Flickr: tibchris

I don’t know how it is in your part of the country, but out here in San Francisco it’s been a-stormin’.  Torrents of rain have been battering away on the roof like chimney sweeps doing a drunken and angry rendition of Mary Poppins’ “Step in Time”.  Howling winds, and even some thunder and lightning (which we rarely get out here), are making me feel like I’m finally experiencing some winter weather! I would say it’s a perfect time for an antifogmatic, wouldn’t you?  I whipped up a version of hot buttered rum designed to warm your belly and bring some color back into your cheeks.

Fog City Hot Buttered Rum

  • 2 oz. rum (I used Lemon Hart Demerara)
  • 2 oz. Odwalla tangerine juice
  • 3/4 oz. sugar cane syrup (I used Petite Canne from Martinique)
  • 1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 4 oz boiling hot water
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 medium-size lime

Mix first 4 ingredients in a mug or large teacup.  Add hot water and butter and stir until butter melts.  Squeeze a lime quarter into the drink, stir again, and serve.  (I think this would be just as good without the butter, so if you prefer a fat-free beverage, just leave it out.)  Note: if you don’t have sugar cane syrup, you could make a brown sugar simple syrup or just use regular simple syrup.

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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