High Maintenance Gimlets
gimletsmall.jpgYesterday I was charmed when I was skimming Fancy Toast & read the most amusing food blog entry I've seen in some time: High Maintenance Gimlets. It's not just that I love gimlets. Or cucumbers. (Though I do love both. I even like cucumbers in my cocktails.) The writing is excellent - and I keep coming back to that High/Low Maintenance vs. High/Low Quality matrix for another grin. As a solidly Quadrant III girl, I was compelled to mix up up a few of Erielle's cocktails to accompany our movie last night. Amusingly, I didn't read the comments until this morning - and sure enough Kip: I picked Hendrick's off my shelf to accompany the cucumbers. I made a few other amendments to Erielle's formula - I prefer my gimlets a bit more on the tart side, so I upped the lime, and dropped the sugar. So very tasty!

1 cup cucumber water
1 tsp sugar
juice of 3 limes (more like 3 tbsp)
3/4 cup Hendrick's Gin

Shake hard over ice, strain & serve!

Posted by shock at 09:37 AM

tulgey wood
tulgeywoodcrop.jpgI created the tulgey wood for the drinks spread at the Alice party my fabulously creative friends threw a few months ago. It was definitely my favorite of the three cocktails we served. It's done in the style of a Manhattan, replacing the sweet vermouth with a concoction called Torani Amer. (I originally picked up the bottle to try the cocktail in the link - the Hoskins. It was gooood.) I think the Amer is deeper and darker than the vermouth, and the bitter orange lends a touch of mystery. I'd like to try this with some orange bitters - I used my house standard Angostura.

1.5 oz Jack Daniels
3/4 oz Torani Amer
dash or two of bitters
2 brandied cherries

Combine the first three ingredients over big chunks of fresh ice. Shake hard. Serve up, with a few brandied cherries. (Don't use maraschinos - the sweet syrup is all wrong here.) Burble.

Posted by shock at 08:17 AM

shanghai'd basilisk
My uberlist for 2004 included the line "67. Create at least one cocktail that showcases a Hangar One vodka." Coming in just under the wire, I came up with this orange & basil cocktail to start off our New Year's Feast this year. I've been seeing (and trying) more cocktails with savory herbs in them; I wanted to try my hand at the same. This is definitely a strong cocktail, with clean flavors.

Hangar One makes fantastic vodkas - I highly recommend you try them out.

2 oz Hangar One Mandarin Blossom vodka
5-6 fresh basil leaves
2-3 drops fresh lemon juice
2-3 drops simple syrup
a few brandied cherries for garnish

Combine vodka, basil leaves, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker over lots and lots of ice. Shake really hard - you want this thing really cold, and you want to break up the basil.

Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry. (None of those nasty maraschino cherries here, please.)

Posted by shock at 08:48 AM

hansel und gretel

Here's a little cocktail I whipped up in Tim & Heather's honor to serve at their wedding reception. I wanted to do something with vanilla vodka and gingerbread syrup - two things that Tim quite likes in his cocktails. They turned out to be a big hit with Tim, and with many of the guests!

Kudos to Aimee, who helped me with the name. The key is in the garnish...

2.5 parts Stoli Vanil
0.5 part Monin Gingerbread Syrup
2.0 parts Pellegrino
Freshly squeezed lemon juice - about a half a large lemon per glass. Definitely taste and adjust.

Mix and serve over crushed ice in your choice of vessel. For Heather & Tim's wedding, I served these in wine goblets. For a smaller party, I might use pilsner glasses.

Garnish with a lemon wedge for a Hansel, and with a cherry for a Gretel.

This recipe lends itself well to mixing up a pitcher, and pouring through the evening.

Posted by shock at 07:54 AM

persephone's punch

While i'm no Ardent Spirit just yet, i quite enjoy developing cocktails here and there - especially when i have a particular event in mind. I wanted to serve a couple of signature cocktails at Tammy & Todd's engagement party; I knew that one would be a Damiana margarita, at Todd's request. I set out to design a second drink that i thought Tammy would love.

It's loosely based on the Persephone's Undoing cocktail i created for jD & Logan's Oban party, which is mixed like a cosmo, but includes pomegranite juice. I wanted something a little more flirtatious, a little more festive for the engagement party. I think the end result was quite well received. My drink-development tasters were Heidi and Russell fo this round - send a few thank-yous their way if you had one of these treats!

2 parts pomegranite juice (I was using Pom this time)
1 part vodka (I used Ketel One, my house vodka)
2 parts champagne (I used Echo Brut)
A dash of sugar syrup (about a dash per drink you'll be serving)
A squeeze of lime (about a half a lime per drink)

Mix all but the champagne well over ice, strain into a glass, and top with champagne. If you're serving to a large crowd, mix a pitcher full, and serve in wine goblets over crushed ice.

Posted by shock at 07:24 AM

victorian secret

Gary Regan and his wife Mardee are truly excellent cocktailians. I look forward to Mr. Regan's biweekly column in the Chron faithfully, and today was messing around on their site, Ardent Spirits.

I found a link to this: The Victorian Secret. I really need to make these sometime soon... Anyone want to be a taste tester?

Posted by shock at 11:21 AM

French 75

A saucy little cocktail i mixed up for the girls when they came over to swap clothes. I forgot to take a photo - i'll get one on the next serving. This was especially precious with a cluster of tiny frozen champagne grapes in the bottom of the glass as a garnish.

1/4 oz lemon juice (i've used lime with good effect)
dash of sugar syrup (or a small bar spoon o' bar sugar)
dash of grenadine (i leave this out if i want the grapes to be seen)
3/4 oz gin (i use Bombay Sapphire, my house 'well' gin)

Shake the first four ingredients over ice in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail class or a champagne flute, and fill with champagne.

Heather said "Hey, i can't taste the gin!" and then confirmed that that was, indeed, a good thing. Give that girl champagne, and she'll drink anything.

Posted by shock at 09:08 AM

quick mango lassi (and random mango tips)

This is probably not a "true" mango lassi, as depending on which East-Indian friends I ask, a true lassi is made with yoghurt, and the mango taste is meant to come from mango puree. (I think Ashish is wrong on the mango puree, but I'm not getting into an argument with his mother!)

So this is my own variant on the classic, using fresh mango and kefir

Peel and slice a fresh mango. You can use any kind of mango: if you're deeply averse to fiber, use the Ataulfo variety. The riper the better, but there should be no dark spots on the inside. I've found the easiest way of preparing fresh mango is to peel the skin with a good sharp potato peeler and then slice the meat from the pit with a paring knife.

Add the following ingredients to your blender:
1 peeled, sliced mango
1 c. plain kefir (the lifeway brand one is tasty)
3/4 c. milk
1 tbsp honey (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blenderize until smooth and frothy. If you have ice, pour over ice and serve. Mint makes a nice garnish.

Random notes...
The proportions in this really are up to you: more kefir and less milk makes a thicker, more filling shake. If you don't have kefir, use yoghurt and increase the milk ratio.

Vanilla is not at all traditional, but I like the way it rounds out the honey and mango flavours and softens the acidity of the kefir.

If you find yourself with an abundance of mangoes, sliced mango freezes beautifully. Just peel and chunk them all, toss them in a freezer bag, and freeze. The high sugar content in the mango makes it easy to chop off a chunk from the block with a good knife -- you can then use frozen mango to make a lassi when mango's not in season.


Posted by naomi at 10:35 AM

Professor's fan club

I'm so in love with Gary Regan's column, that I dream of starting a bi-weekly Professor's study group, to get together with a bunch of people and sample all the cocktails he makes.

This week - the Floridita

Posted by heather at 02:53 PM

bruised kidney for a hawaiian dick

Created in honor of Hawaiian Dick, a tiki noir comic from Image & Isotope Comics - our favorite comics shop in the City. Based on the original bruised kidney - vodka and french sparkling lemonade in about the same proportions, same framboise treatment.

Fill a tall, clear glass with ice. For best results, use big blocks of ice. Fill the glass full.

Add some white rum. A third of the glass full will do - unless you're trying to kill the pain.

Pour in a bunch of pineapple juice. Add a splash of ginger ale to the top. Stir up the drink.

Drizzle in (down the sides of the glass, for optimum streaky lines) some framboise (or creme d'cassis, if that's what you have, or some other dark, sticky, red liqueur). Serve immediately, garnished with a slightly battered cocktail umbrella. Maybe with a cherry.

(If you're mixing up a big pitcher of the mixer, 4 parts pineapple to 1 part ginger ale seems about right. I always booze to taste for the lucky recipient.)

(Sadly, we had no umbrellas at photo op time - battered or otherwise. Click the drink for a larger photo.)

Posted by shock at 10:03 PM

russell likes to drink.

I call this drink a "wee dram of scotch".

1 oz. single-malt Scotch whiskey; Macallan, Laphroaig, Talisker, Oban, or the like.

Pour 1 oz. whiskey into an appropriate whiskey nosing glass. Sip slowly.

Substitute Jack Daniels if you can fake a better southern accent than a Scottish one.

Posted by russell at 03:49 PM