WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL(s)?

As time goes by….

…and we try more and more cocktails there will always be one, two or three (or more) that keeps being there, rotating and sticking with us and becoming our favorite cocktails. What is it with these cocktails that makes them last? what`s so special with them?

The Mai Tai has been with me for many years, the Sazerac a bit shorter but both are always there and if it takes too long in between – something just tells me that its time – for a Mai Tai – or a Sazerac. The Mai Tai is on my favorite list because its such a perfect cocktail. Its so balanced, yummy, refreshing, exotic – and simple. So simple that most makes it the wrong way.

Please try to understand – its dark rum(s) lime, orgeat, rock candy or simple syrup, orange curacao and mint sprig (and maybe a spent lime shell as well)  for garnish – and crushed ice in a double old fashioned glass. Anything else isn´t a Mai Tai but maybe a “Pineapple Mai Tai” or other but not “Mai Tai” – Period!

Its ok with – say Cointreau if you don`t have orange Curacao, to add a cherry for garnish as long as you stick to the original recipe. Probably the orgeat is the hardest part or that`s what i hear, but now when Trader Tiki delivers orgeat worldwide it should be available if you really want to make it right and its also easy to make. Amaretto is another topic of this discussion, yes it has also an almond flavor but it just won`t replace orgeat i think.

One last thing – a Mai Tai isn`t red, pink or brightly orange – its brownish.

As for the Sazerac, it has just like the Mai Tai an interesting history and i like it with rye – or maybe half rye half cognac – it used to have cognac at first, namely a cognac called Sazerac-du-Forge-et-fils. The problem for me is that no rye is sold here in our spirit shop, yes you heard me – NO – rye. Can you believe that? “But you can special order” some say….yes i can, they have ONE brand to choose from, and even though luckily very good (Wild Turkey Rye) – but – wow. Its really rye-desert here.

Good ryes for Sazeracs are Sazerac 6 year, Rittenhouse Bonded Straight Rye, Old Overholt rye or Wild Turkey Rye. For a luxury experience or a special occasion try Sazerac 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – if you can.

One thing these two of my favorite cocktails has in common apart from being two tasty classical well balanced cocktails, is that they both are traditionally served in my favorite type of glass – the old fashioned. Its just something with that glass, its so homely and comfy, steady in your hand and beautyful too – and i love it.

The Mai Tai is the King of Tiki cocktails and the Sazerac is the official cocktail of New Orleans so you see – both are two steady cocktails. But to be really honest…there is a third favorite as well – Absinthe Suissesse – i love that silky smooth fluffy wonder of a cocktail but i won`t write about that one in this post as i just did that in the last MxMo where i made a little twist of it. If you like Absinthe and haven`t tried the Suissesse yet, i think you should.

SAZERAC

sazerac

1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash Angostura, not tradition but some say it opens up the flavors.
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the whiskey into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well. Discard the peel.

Some like to use the peel as garnish, i`m one of them. But be careful not to drop the entire peel back into the glass as that would give too much citrus flavor.

ORIGINAL MAI TAI

demerara-mai-tai

2 oz Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old Rum (Sub your favorite dark rums here, i would suggest Appleton Extra and St James hors d`age or Clèment VSOP or 2 oz of a good demerara is tasty too)
0.5 oz orgeat ( i used Trader Tiki`s)
0.5 oz orange curacao
0.25 oz simple syrup
Juice of one lime (approx. .75 oz lime juice)

Shake all ingredients with ice.  Strain into a double old fashioned glass over crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of mint. Add two short straws near the mint.

This is truly deliscious and so simple.

And now – i just couldn`t help myself…i just had to add this video of a very (in) famous and entertaining guy – well known by the cocktailsphere…showing how to NOT make a Mai Tai – How many errors can you possibly do? I found these:

1) Tall glass  2) ice cubes  3) wrong rum, and he doesn`t even show us the label 4) triple sec – well..i would rather use cointreau if there`s no orange curacao 5) amaretto 6) grenadine 7) orange juice 8) pineapple juice 9) a float – and even if floats are nice, its not in the Mai Tai recipe  10) long straws 11) the drink isn`t mixed..  12) NO MINT!

WHERE IS THE LIME??? OH MY GOD!!

Check it out, it will bring out a smile f`sure.. its actually quite entertaining. Maybe you`ll find more errors than i did.

WHOHOOO HERE WE GO!! DUMP! DUMP! DUMP! SPLASH!

So what do you think? and which are your favorite cocktails?

Mixology Monday XLVI – All About Absinthe!

mxmologo

Time flies so fast that i did forget about the date and realized today that its time again for Mixology Monday…and how can i not participate when the topic is absinthe?

Its Sonja over at “Thinking of Drinking” who is hosting and she says this:

The topic for February is Absinthe. That much maligned, misunderstood, mistreated spirit, suddenly plentiful again in the US and other parts of the world. Absinthe played a role, whether large or small, in a variety of great cocktails from the 1800’s and early 1900’s – the Sazerac, Absinthe Suissesse, Corpse Reviver No. 2… I’m getting thirsty.

So let’s celebrate absinthe’s history, and it’s future, with all manner of cocktails using absinthe.

Here’s how to participate:

* Find or concoct a recipe using absinthe as an ingredient.
* Make the drink and write about it. Include the recipe, ideally a photo, and something about how you liked (or didn’t like, or tweaked, or…) the drink.

There´s one drink with absinthe that i really like a lot apart from the Sazerac which i`m addicted to, and that`s the Absinthe Suissesse. Its smooth like silk! so fluffy..and good for breakfast. Its actually a classic New Orleans breakfast cocktail originally made with Herbsaint and none could be better and more soothing than this one.

But for this MxMo i wanted to make a twist of something and that something is of course the Suissesse. I really prefer the original recipe but now i`m gonna go astray a bit and change the drops of orange flower water for some Mozart Dry chocolate spirit.

Then i turned down the orgeat from 0.5 oz to 1/4 and used 1 oz milk and 1 oz heavy cream instead of 2 ounces of the cream. I used one whole egg instead of an egg white, i think the whole egg adds more yumminess and roundness to this cocktail. Finally i garnished the glass with a rim of cocoa powder to accent the Mozart Dry.

Mozart Dry is not a chocolate liqueur, its a chocolate spirit and its not on the sweet side, rather dry and very pleasant to mix with or on its own.

CHOCOLATE SUISSESSE

chocolate-suissesse

1-1/2 to 2 ounces absinthe (to taste)
1/4 ounce orgeat (I used trader Tiki`s thick orgeat)
1 whole egg
0.5 oz Mozart Dry
1 oz  milk
1 oz heavy cream
1/2 cup crushed or cubed ice

Either you shake with crushed ice or you blend with ice cubes, i did blend this one.

I also did rim the glass with some cocoa powder to accent the Mozart and make a garnish. I think Mozart Dry did very well in this cocktail, so well that i`m gonna use it more times in my Suissesses.

Happy monday everyone and thanks Sonja for hosting! this drink is exactly what i needed today after coming back home from work turned into an icecube as that`s how cold it is here now. The Suissesse warmed me up!

MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG 5 – Beachcomber´s Punch

The next drink from Grog Log is also a Beachcomber concoction named Beachcomber´s Punch. At first sight the recipe looks pleasant and uncomplicated and that`s exactly how i find this tiki drink. It contains my favorite rum which is demerara and just little pernod as well to give some dimension to this concoction.

Don the Beachcomber created this one circa 1937 according to Grog Log. The Angostura/Pernod combo was the Beachcomber`s “secret” ingredient when he used dark rum as the base. But it should be mentioned that back then he used Herbsaint. Now when the original Herbsaint is re-created i would choose it if i could. I`ll definetily try to get me a bottle later.

This is a sort of foolproof classic Beachcomber tiki drink, its very easy to make.

So here we go:

BEACHCOMBER´S PUNCH

beachcombers-punch

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)

0.5 oz apricot brandy

0.5 oz simple syrup

Dash Angostura bitters

1/8 tsp pernod

1.5 oz demerara rum

All this to blend with 6 ounces of crushed ice and no more than 5 sec. That`s important unless you are a fan of slushy drinks.. Pour into a 10 ounce pilsener glass. Add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with a sprig of mint. I also added an orchid,

Simple enough – and tasty. Contrary to how i found the previous cocktail this one is tasty and kind to you. Actually it should have had a kick of something, a float of high proof demerara maybe? its a bit too kind..

It does require a twist that is different enough so we can have some fun.

I decided first to switch the apricot brandy for Cherry Heering and take down the ratio to 1/4 oz as too much Cherry Heering isn`t desired. Then i switched the Pernod for a few dashes of Peychauds and finally i added that float of high proof demerara i was talking about..Now we be jazzin`…

A lack of better imagination from a tired brain in the middle of a friday night i just came up with this name, so it will have to do.

TIKI QUEEN PUNCH

tiki-queen-punch

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)

1/4 oz Cherry Heering

1/4 oz simple syrup

1/4 Trader Tiki`s vanilla syrup (or other)

2-3 dashes Peychaud`s bitters

1.5 oz demerara rum

0.5 oz float overproof demerara rum

All this to blend with 6 ounces of crushed ice and no more than 5 sec. Then i garnished with one of those red nice swizzle sticks that came with Trader Tiki`s all syrups and a sprig of mint.

This one i like much more, it has more punch and i like Cherry Heering as long as its not allowed to overpower the drink. The little touch of Trader Tiki`s yummy vanilla syrup was also pleasant. If you can`t get Trader Tiki`s yummy vanilla its easy to make your own. But i can tell you that Trader Tiki`s vanilla has a lot of flavor, and that is flavor that is all natural.

Don`t think that i`m just trying to promote a friend now, he has no problems doing that all by himself but i really do like his syrups and they are very professionally made and has that little extra something that many other syrups lack.

Next drink up from Grog Log in a while will be something called Blackbeard`s Ghost, soon to come.

This series called Mixing through Grog Log is inspired by my fellow boozeblogger Erik`s “Stomping through the Savoy” over at Underhill Lounge.

Sugarcane bar

 

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MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG 4 – Beachcombers Gold

This tiki cocktail was served in a ice mold. In the old days when they didn`t have any ice machines they carved in large ice blocks and some tikidrinks were stylishly served in various ice molds and no wonder it was appreciated by the customers. Imagine sitting in a dark tikibar..and being served an exotic drink in a ice mold!  Some tiki cocktails was served in a glass placed inside an ice vessel like Dr Funk`s Son.

The most important thing in making a successful ice mold is to use shaved ice which is easier to mold and shape. Another important factor is the temperature. You don`t want the ice to start melting but you don´t want it to be too hard either. Leave it out for a  while until it becomes  a little bit more soft, then it molds easier and then you have to work pretty quick. Then we can discuss water quality for ice but i won`t do that now because it would make the post way too long and besides there are other good resources if you wanna read how to get clear ice.

Without shaved ice its much harder to do this. I made my first attemps using a handmixer after I used my ice crusher. Last time I wasn´t totally satisfied with the molds, especially not the ice shell called “Spanish comb” and that`s the one this drink recipe calls for. As I said, shaved ice is the key. A handcranked ice crusher and a handmixer is not for the lazy person and basically i`m lazy so I haven`t re-attempted to make this type of ice molds and especailly now since my handmixer is broke. Of course you can use a big mortar and beat the hell outta it but i think i`ll go for lots of crushed ice instead.

When you shape the spanish comb ice mold you place the crushed or shaved ice (try to get it like snow) in the glass, a whole heap of it and then gently press the ice towards the sides of the glass with your hands and form an ice shell or hood on one side. Make sure to give enough room in the glass for the liquids. Then to keep it in balance I placed the glass beside the wall in my freezer leaving it there overnight.

This cocktail  which is the 4th in Grog Log was made by Don the Beachcomber.

Here`s the recipe for the drink:

BEACHCOMBER`S GOLD

beachcombers-gold

0.5 oz french vermouth

0.5 oz italian vermouth

Dash Angostura bitters

1/8 tsp pernod

1.5 oz light Puerto Rican rum

Blend for 5 seconds with 2 ounces crushed ice. Strain into cocktail glass or saucer champagne glass with ice shell forming hood over glass.

Well, i was a bit disappoined with this drink, i found it too tart. But that`s so easy to fix, i added 0.5 oz raw sugar syrup and then the drink tasted better. But this one isn`t my favorite of tiki drinks though. Its very important here to choose a rum with a great taste and to not overdose the pernod. Even though i like some anis flavor i think even a bit less than 1/8 tsp is better here, like a drop or two.

As i wasn`t that overmuch happy with this drinks flavor i decided to try to make a twist of some sort and in my mind came of course Campari and then instead of Pernod – Peychauds. I had never yet tried Campari and Peychauds in the same drink and so that could be an interesting little experiment. Something told me to change the rum as well, so i changed it from white to dark. I used Havana Club 7, but that may be subbed with some other dark rum that is flavourful but not too “heavy”.

The recipe looks like this:

GOLDEN BROWN TIKI

golden-brown-tiki

0.5 oz french vermouth

0.5 oz italian vermouth

1 dash Peychauds bitters

o,5 os raw sugar syrup

0.5 oz Campari

2 oz dark rum

Tempting here to switch for gin but then it would be too negroni-like and its supposed to be a tiki drink. For the syrup i use oxfam raw sugar which isn´t a brown sugar but not white either, its fine textured and very flavorful.

This drink was somewhat better but not a drink to die for, but it had a pronounced bitterness that i liked but surely one could play around with the ingredients some more and maybe come up with something better but i think i`m done for today. After all one needs to sleep sometimes as well and it haven´t been much of that since last sunday. Not sure how i feel about campari and pernod in the same drink, its not exactly bad..its a bit weird – like somehow the flavors cannot really agree to share the space..

Next drink up from Grog Log will be another Beachcomber concoction that to me looks much tastier and contains my favorite rum – demerara. Soon to come.

UPCOMING TDN – Trader Tiki’s Exotic Syrups

donns-mix-label

Heard about Trader Tiki`s Exotic syrups yet? no??

If not – let me tell you what lovely genuine yummy and handcrafted syrups these are…I`m really happy to see these syrups now avalable and for purchase. Long ago i tried a few of them and they were pretty fast used up! and mind you i`m not a bad syrup maker myself. Theses syrups have something little extra in them, it can be a thickness…or something in the flavor that is there but you can´t exactly say what it may be. But after trying them you know for sure that this is genuine homemade syrups made with love and craftmanship.

Here is where to get these marvellous syrups – http://www.tradertiki.com/store/

Now….in a about a week and a half (feb 11) there will be a Trader Tiki Exotic Syrups TDN! Here´s your chance to indulge in a range of exotic cocktails being made right on the spot during the evening and night using these exotic syrups – and to have fun with a bunch of cocktail folks of all sorts.

You are totally free to add your own drinks or just to drink others or even to just lurk – the choice is yours but y`all are very much welcome to log in to the Mixoloseum chatroom at 7 pm est on feb 11. As it is almost two weeks left until this exciting TDN takes off you have the time now to get yourself a bottle or two of these handmade  flavorful exotic syrups!

Mixoloseum is a Creative Place! keep mixing…keep shaking…keep stirring..