Pimento! a Spicy drink with a Hot Chili bite!

Up for review is a downright fantastic fizzy drink made with ginger, tonic and hot pepper natural flavors and it is strong!! but let me tell you something…this is the best fizzy ginger drink i`ve tasted in a long time – if ever… yes it´s that good!

It was actually made as an alternative to alcohol that isn´t weak but very strong –  but it can be used with or without alcohol and bland is the last thing this drink is. It reminds me of ginger beer with a chili bite without being an actual ginger beer. I think it´s fantastic and it´s low in sugar and full of taste, and really delicious!

As a non alcoholic beverage it´s perfect if you want something that has a bite and a bucket load of flavor. Also it´s a great paired with spicy exotic food and it should always be served very cold! The cocktail recipes here can be used as non-alcoholic drink alternatives, just omit the alcohol, with Pimento in it they will have enough flavor.

Pimento mixes well with rum, tequila and vodka and there´s no end to the amount of tasty drinks you can make with it. Here´s four drinks i made, three are my own creations and one i picked from the recipe booklet i got with the Pimento drinks. I especially enjoyed the first drink:

Red Hot Chili Pepper

(created by Jeremy Kent and Anthony Nasty at the Saloon Bar (Val Thorens)

0.25 oz  ( 1 cl) grenadine ( i used homemade hibiscus grenadine)

2 oz ( 6cl) Havana Club Anejo Especial ( or use other similar type of dark rum)

0.5 oz (1.5 cl) fresh lime juice

Top with Pimento

Serve in highball glass or other with ice cubes.

This drink is like…dang!! absolutely lovely and the chili flavor really comes through and marries just perfectly with the grenadine and dark rum. I loved it!

Pimento Storm

2 oz ( 6 cl) dark Jamaican rum

0.5 oz (1.5 cl) fresh lime juice

Top with Pimento

Shake all ingredients except Pimento, strain and top with Pimento, serve with cracked ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

This tastes like a spicy strong Dark N Stormy with a sexy hot chili bite…

Mayahuel on Fire

2 oz ( 6 cl) tequila reposado

1 barspoon good coffee liqueur ( i used Fair Cafe)

0.75 oz ( 2 cl) pineapple juice

Top with Pimento

Shake and strain into a rocks glass or other filled with cracked ice and garnish with a pineapple leaf and cherry.

Pimento goes exceptionally well with tequila – not surprising since tequila and chili pepper is a natural match, this drink is refreshing and strong with that earthy character from tequila that tastes so good. The coffee fits in very well too adding a third dimension to the flavors.

Hot Pimento Swizzle

1 oz ( 2.5 cl) pineapple juice

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 barspoon falernum

1 oz dark Jamaican rum

1 oz green Chartreuse

Top with Pimento

Swizzle with crushed ice until frosty and top with Pimento, garnish with a good bunch of fresh mint.

This drink is a take on the Chartreuse swizzle and it´s herbal and fresh, gingery and strong!

My conclusion of this product is that i really like it! I find it very versatile and the flavor is awesome. The bottle itself is also a pleasure to both handle and look at and the label is beautiful. it looks classy and cool at the same time with that black chili pepper and red metallic text that says Pimento, simply beautiful and i love the chili red bottle cap!

Pimento is like a strong ginger beer with a hot bite of chili and a refreshing tonic quality.

As for now it`s sold in France, England, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Tahiti, Australia, Guadeloupe and Haiti and they are looking for distributors and can be contacted on their website.

 

A Tequila Julep for may the 5th

Here´s for cheering twice! both the Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo happens to be on may 5th this year.

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage to commemorate the French army’s defeat at the hands of the Mexicans at Puebla by the end of the 1900s. And with that goes cheering with tequila. The Derby Day is as we know – a day of never ending mint juleps – and since both are on the same day this year- why not try a new thing and make a tequila julep?

In any case i have been thinking about that ice cold julep for a while…but i have never meade one with tequila. That feels quite refreshing – and i have already posted other juleps here – see links at the bottom) so tequila julep it is this time!

Now one thing with the julep – it´s a boozy drink but with all the crushed or shaved ice it dilutes fast and so therefore you better try to use a spirit with a little bit of a higher proof to keep that kick in the flavor. At the same time the dilution is necessary to make the drink palatable and refreshing – and that´s the whole point with the julep – it´s supposed to be a refreshener in the summer heat.

And thank God i have a Lewis bag…and maybe i should thank the Tales too bec that`s from where i got it last year. With it i made some fairly finely crushed ice by first crushing it in my ice-crusher (hand cranked variety…) and then i scooped it all into the bag and did beat the hell outta it and the result was a quite finely powdered ice – perfect!

Unfortunatley i would have needed more since i made 2 drinks so i had to top it up with normal crushed ice because at that point i wasn´t in for hammering more. And when i mention hammering…i hope one day to find a real big wooden mallet, like this one. Right now i`m using a huge wooden mortar and it works alright but a huge wooden mallet would be even better and they are cool too..

So here`s the recipe:

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup in a glass or julep cup

Add mint (6-8 leaves) and muddle very lightly, only lightly bruising them to get the oil out – not too hard because then you will release bitter stuff.

Fill up half with finely crushed ice and add your tequila of choice – i took 2 oz of a tequila reposado.

Now stir, add more ice and stir again until the glass is well frosted and heap plenty of ice on top! Garnish with a nice sprig of mint – and don´t forget to slap it to release the fragrance in the air.

And then….sip and dream…

With tequila the julep was alright but i think it´s much better with a strong bourbon – but as this is a special occasion i enjoy my tequila julep!

Cheers!

Here´s links to earlier mint julep posts:

New Orleans Cocktails pt 4 – Mint Julep

Chocolate and Vanilla Juleps 

 

YELLOW BOXER & RUM BOXER

Here´s a little drink i´ve been curious about for a while but never had the time to try out until now when it´s time to get back to normal work after the Tales is over for this time.

The Yellow Boxer i found in Remixed by Jeff Berry – but who made it?  where is it coming from? what inspired it or made it happen? – well… i have no idea. Browsing through the interwebz  for research didn´t lead me to any much info, just recipes but no info on it´s history. In any case fresh lemon juice, tequila, galliano, lime and orange must be tasty right? and also this is such a drink that you can play with and have some fun.

So what do you do with a drink which you cannot find any info about apart from the recipe? well, you mix it up… it better taste good since it`s just the drink i can come up with in this post..

YELLOW BOXER

3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz orange juice

3/4 oz Rose´s Lime Cordial

1/4 oz Galliano

1 2/4 oz tequila (i used a reposado, Los Tres Tonos)

Shake with a scoop of crushed ice and strain into a tall glass filled with fresh crushed ice.

It was a while since i did something with tequila, it´s mostly rum being poured here…With tequila and many other spirits  i´m more like a periodic user, i don´t know why it´s that way but i guess it´s just the way i roll.

Anyway, back to the drink, how did it taste?

Hm…it was good…refreshing…and nice…but not WOW – and so i was dying to make a twist of it. Some drinks just calls for that and it´s something i really enjoy doing. Now i wanted something spicy, paired with something fruity, tart and sweet and then something dark..mellowed by something soft..

So i decided to use two rums i like very much, unfortunately one of them is impossible to find outside of the States or maybe even New Orleans, it´s the ONO Cajun Spiced rum i`m talking about. The other rum is Coruba dark, a very handy and versatile rum i always want on my shelf, i`m sure many of you readers agree on that.

I don´t know how to sub the ONO Cajun Spice though..but maybe a lightly cayenne and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove infused dark Jamaican rum would add a similar spice but it wouldn´t be the same thing of course.

I don´t know exactly what goes into the Cajun Spice – on their website it says – “A blend of rums are combined with the kick of cayenne and cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves to create this truly unique, truly New Orleans flavor”

It`s a pity this rum isn´t sold worldwide, it´s such a good rum and i`m sure it would sell well too, i haven´t yet met anyone who have tried it and not really liked it. It`s this kinda rum that once you try it you`ll keep coming back for more.

RUM BOXER


0.5 fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz passionfruit juice

1 passionfruit, one half goes into the shaker, the other half is for garnish

0.25 oz Navan vanilla liqueur

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne)

1.5 oz Coruba dark rum

Float 0.5 oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

Shake with a scoop of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass and add up with more fresh crushed ice. Float ONO Cajun Spiced rum and garnsih with a speared half passionfruit shell and either mint or other green leaf.

Well this was a very tasty drink! it`s fruity, sweet and sour, tart, spicy, rummy and layered. I think i`m lucky today!

I hope you can try it out with the ingredients listed, if not, try to get as close as you can. Also this is a drink that allows much experimentation, i bet this would be nice with a float of mezcal as well or aged rhum agricole.

So there i got my passionfruit and vanilla drink which i wanted to invent ever since i went to that vanilla session at Tales.

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 4 – Before Man the Plant

BEFORE MAN THE PLANT

Ron Cooper showing us a picture of a bowl of pulque.

And now comes the last part of my recap of the Tales this year and my last session to write about was all about agave – tequila and mezcal.

The session was moderated by Steve Olson and the panelists were  Paciano Cruz Nolasco, David Grapshi, David Suro-Pinera, Iván Saldaña, Misty Kalkofen, Phil Ward, Ron Cooper, Tomas Estes

This 3 hour long seminar was preceeded by a Del Maguey tasting which i also attended. There i did meet both Ron Cooper and also the maker of my favorite Del Maguey mezcals – the San Luis del Rio and the Crema, which contains San Luis del Rio.

it was an interesting tasting and some very fresh cocktails, my favorite was made with fresh muddled pineapple.

A pineapple and one of those wooden mallets i hope to find some day.

Mezcal cocktail extravaganza!

Roasted agave to chew on – it´s tasty.

In a 3 hour long session there´s a lot being said and there´s no way i can recap it all or even half of it. But we got to kearn a lot about agave spirits.

For example that withn the genus agave there´s 150- 300 different species and they are not related to the cactus but to plants like onions, palm trees, garlic, pineapples, aspargus and artichokes who belongs to the lilies.

By definition the agave is the biological reaction of adaption to stress..and has adopted all the ways and requirements needed to ensure it survive in harsh conditions.

Terroir – which is a french term to describe the natural conditions that affect the growing organism – can affect size, maturity, sugar maturation and even shape.  Terroir is soil, climate, year round temperatures, day and night humidity, wind, air quality and sun exposure.

And after terroir we have the final touch – the hand of the maker. Agave is a fascinating plant and so ancient…

In the state of Jalisco where 95% of all agaves are grown and tequila made, there are two regions producing two differerent taste profiles of tequila. First the tequila valley where the tequila is described as masculine (wine-term) earthy and herbacious while in the second – Los Altos the Jalisco (the highlands) the tequila is said to be feminine, round and fruity.

These are no exact descriptions, it´s only generality and does not apply to all tequilas in these two regions to fit into the descriptions. But terroir is becoming more and more important.

The word mezcal comes from the pre-hispanic nahuatl language. Metl meant “maguey” and mezcalmetl meant “roast maguey” The common used word for agave today in Oaxaca and most of Mexico is maguey. But when you point at the plant in the tequila region people say “mezcal”

I`m not going into how tequila and mezcal is made, i´ve posted about that before and there´s tons of info on the net, let´s just say it´s handcrafted spirits that goes deep back in it`s  history and the lives of the makers and that has lots of flavor!

Y`all just have to come down to the Tales next year and see the sessions for yourselves and taste some great spirits and cocktails. Next year is the 10th anniversary as well so expect a lot of activity…

Tastings tastings…

A mezcal clay cup – they are called copitas, it tastes better in them.

Ready to imbibe…

Thirsty? come to Tales 10 year anniversary next year!

MEZCAL – Smoky Deliciousness

The nose of the mezcal reaches me, its earhty…and smoky…but not overwelmingly so – in a pleasant way it invites you to take a sip.

I have written about mezcal before but i feel its time again, its such a nice and interesting spirit. 

The first time I tasted mezcal i knew it would have a smoky taste almost like a scotch, I also knew it was made form the agave plant – maguey and that it differs from how tequila is made in that the hearts of the agave plants are roasted in a underground owen and it´s that which gives the mezcal its smoky flavour. I wasn´t prepared though for the whole array of complex delisciousness that smooth like silk found its way to every part of my palate.

The whole process in making mezcal is very old, about 400 years and every step is time consuming as its made by hand and mezcal is a real slow-food product – this is how flavour is made. Its every step in the process from harvesting the heavy agave plants to roasting, fermenting and distilling.

There are many factors that affects the the final product –  altitude, water, air-microbes and finally the most important thing – time – that creates these amazing flavours – and the hand of the maker who adds their personal touch to their mezcal. An experienced mezcal taster can by the flavour of a mezcal tell in which single village it was made and by whom.

Mezcal (mes-kal) generally refers to all agave-based distilled liquors that are not tequila.Tequila is made only from the blue agave plant.Mezcals are made from 100% agave while tequilas must be produced from a minimum of 51% agave and there are several different varietes of agave used each producing a different flavor of mezcal. Espadín agave is used in the making of about 90% of the mezcal.

The word mezcal means “cooked maguey” and the word maguey is synonymous with agave which contrary to many beliefs isn´t a cactus but a relative to the Lily and Amaryllis.

There are several types of mezcal, and there is a broad range of quality in terms of smoothness, flavor nuances and smokiness. I have tried both good and bad mezcals and of those i`ve had the pleasure to enjoy I would recommend Del Maguey and Ilegal, their products are smooth and very tasty. Ilegal makes outstanding small batch handcrafted mezcal and Del Maguey makes equally outstanding mezcals from different tiny remote villages in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Each Del Maguey mezcal carries the name of the village where its produced.

What makes mezcal so special is that is so unique.There´s no other spirit that tastes anything like it and its also very regional. A well made mezcal doesn´t have a straight forward or offensive smokiness – rather its a light smokiness that lingers in the background and gently makes itself known backed up by a very complex orchestra of distinct earthy-spicy fruity and herbal flavours.

And then there´s something mysterious in the feel about mezcal, something ancient…

Its traditionally enjoyed neat but it also mixes very well –  especially in fresh fruit and spicy drinks. Mezcal has been suffering from the myth of the worm for a long time, but in the top shelf brands i`ve tried there´s no need for any worm in the bottle and you`ll not find any.

With this i have here four cocktails you can try:

 

 

MATATLAN OAX

mezcal-matatlan-oax

1 oz mezcal

1 oz passionfruit juice

1/4 oz grenadine

1/4 oz orgeat

sprinkle of fresh lime

Garnish with a sugar rim

Rim the glass, then add everything except grenadine to a shaker and shake over ice, strain and pour into tumbler filled with fresh crushed ice and a few lime quarters. Add a splash of grenadine.

RAW & SWEET

cocoa-raw

1.5 oz mezcal

0.75 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz Mozart Dry cocoa spirit or if you can`t find it, use coffee liqueur

1/4 oz orgeat

Shake and strain into a tumbler with crushed ice. Garnish with lime and mint.

Oh how the Mozart Dry makes this one taste special! Its the taste of pure cocoa without being cloingly sweet and it pairs really well with the mezcal.

MAYAHUEL

mezcal-mayahuel

1 oz mezcal

0.75 oz pineapple juice

1 barspoon coffee liqueur

1/4 oz orgeat

Shake and strain into a tumbler with crushed ice. For garnish i used a pineapple spear, zest of limequat and brandied cherry.

Btw did i mention that mezcal cocktails and spicy deep fried shrimps is a perfect match?

FIRE AND BRIMSTONE

fire-and-brimstone

1 oz mezcal

1 oz tequila reposado

0.25 oz homemade hibiscus grenadine

0.25 oz orgeat, homemade too – by Trader Tiki!

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 small red chili pepper to muddle, cut in 4 pieces

Gently muddle the chili pepper with lime juice and orgeat and then add everything else except grenadine to a shaker and shake over ice, strain and pour into a tumbler filled with fresh crushed ice. Add grenadine and garnish with pieces of red chili pepper on top of the crushed ice and fresh mint.

 

HOW TO MAKE PASSIONFRUIT SYRUP

passionfruits1

Passionfruit is one of my favorite fruits, and luckily we now have two varietes of passionfruits here not just one which we had for many years. Its that small wrinkled little dark brownish-purple-green variety. But lately there`s another type – a golden bigger, twice the size and also much sweeter. Watching one of videos from Leblon i marvelled when i saw the size of the Brazilian passionfruits..they were just WOW! big like a large grapefruit.

I have for a long time been a fan of the Port Light cocktail which uses passionfruit syrup and bourbon, a combination i find incredibly tasty. Playing with drink recipes born from that drink has made me discover how well rye also goes with passionfruit and also cognac.

These are all warm flavors that pairs well with the sweet-tart passionfruits and adding a sprinkle of lime or lemon here and a dash of syrup, honey or grenadine, along with warm spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and clove, it gets very tasty. Passionfruit also goes very well together with rum, cachaca, tequila, mezcal..

There are many varietes of edible passionfruits, they are flowering wines growing in the tropics and temperate areas and the flowers are very beautiful. There seems to be very different tasting commercial passionfruit juices and syrups and so the amount of other sweeteners needs to be adjusted to what you got.I decided to use both types of passionfruits for my syrup figuring that one sweet and one tart type would mix well –  and here´s what to do:

passionfruit-seeds

In a pan add 2:1 or 1:1 sugar and water and make a simple syrup by heating it up. When the sugar is dissolved add the passionfruit seeds from all the fruits but two and bring to a slight boil for a couple minutes, then take off from the heat, add the seeds from the other fruits and leave to cool.

The addition of fruit seeds that are not boiled i imagine adds some extra freshness to the syrup while the boiled fruit imparts a deeper flavor. When its cooled, let stand for about 2 hours more so the flavors get a chance to really come out and settle, then strain and bottle.

Here´s a cocktail to try the syrup with unless you wanna make a PortLight;-)

BLOOD AND GOLD

blood-and-gold

2 oz tequila reposado ( i used Los Tres Tonos which has a little smoke)
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
1 oz passionfruit juice
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
Mint and blood orange slice for garnish

Add to shaker, shake, strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish blood orange slice and mint. Sprinkle a few of the passionfruit seeds on top of the crushed ice.

A drink to be reminded that there will actually be a summer this year too.

 

NAVAN – NATURAL VANILLA LIQUEUR

navan-vanilla-liqueur1

As a real vanilla geek i was happy to receive this vanilla liqueur – now i got a perfect excuse to indulge myself and everybody in vanilla flavored cocktails..

Navan is made by Grand Marnier and is made with natural ingredients and as we know vanilla isn`t the cheapest spice. The quality of  Navan is good and the bottle is handsdown gorgeous, the flavour is very embracing, warm and aromatic. Sweet yes but still less sweet than you may expect due to its cognac base. Picture an exotic climbing vanilla orchid in bloom embracing you..then sending you whiffs of aromatic sweet vanilla fragrance – that´s its nose, until you dip your nose deep into the bottle, then the cognac heaviness takes over but with a sweet overtone.

The vanilla beans used to make this product is the bourbon vanilla beans from Madagascar. The process in pollinating and curing vanilla is a long complicated and burdensome affair and thus the price is high. The vanilla orchid flowers does only bloom for a few hours in the morning once a year and thus needs to be hand-pollinted very quickly.

After the green beans has grown ready to be picked they need to be treated for several months in order to become the fragrant oily dark brown vanilla pods as we know them from the shops.

The aroma of vanilla is pure pleasure..its warm, fragrant and embraces you with its lingering scent and the flavour is sweet and aromatic. Its well known that a bit of vanilla liqueur serves very well as component that ties things together in many cocktails and especially in Tiki drinks.

In the year of 1827 the first liqueur was created for the house of Grand Marnier and at a time when were expensive and hard to find. Now some 200 years later this cognac based liqueur is made with vanilla. Its not brand-new, its been here for a while but its the first time i get a chance to try it. There´s a village on the northeast coast of Madagascar called Navana and the name comes from it and its also from here the beans in the liqueur is from.

The beans are shipped to France and then they are macerated in neutral spirit for a few weeks to extract all the flavour. After that the vanilla beans are combined with aged French cognac using the same procedure as is used in the creation of Grand Marnier.

This is a nice vanilla liqueur and if you like vanilla then i recommend you try to get your hands on a bottle of Navan.

SCENT OF AN ORCHID

scent-of-an-orchid

2 oz tequila reposado
1/4 oz raw sugar syrup
0.5 oz Navan
0.75 oz fresh lime
Club Soda

Shake over ice, (not the Club Soda) strain into a glass with ice, top with a little Club Soda. Garnish with vanilla bean.

MADAGASCAR

madagascar

1.5 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz Navan
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
juice of ½ lime
1t hibiscus grenadine
1 oz passionfruit juice

Shake everything except grenadine over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with cracked ice. Add grenadine and more ice to fill. Garnish with 2 vanilla beans.

MYSTIQUE

mystique

2 oz rhum agricole blanc
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz Navan
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/4 oz cinnamon syrup

Mix things together in a shaker with ice, strain into a glass with crushed ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.