MxMo XXXVIII – SUPERIOR TWISTS

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Oh how fast time flies, its time again for yet another Mixology Monday, and this time its hosted by the Wild Drink Blog.Thank you for hosting! I really like this topic, its really fun to try to make a twist of a classic cocktail thus giving the opportunity to play with ingredients and flavors. The good thing is that you also develop your palate and sense of flavors during the process of both failing and succeeding. Its a good thing i have a lot to learn which means i have a lot of cocktail mixing ahead!

Tristan also wants to know which is the favorite song to dance the twist to, so i got to say Do the twist with Fat Boys and the original with Chubby Checker.

After going through some of my books, finally my eyes fell on the Saratoga cocktail. I have seen a few different recipes out there but i choose to use the recipe from Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide which is this:

SARATOGA COCKTAIL

(Use small bar-glass.)

Take 2 dashes Angostura bitters.
1 pony of brandy.
1 pony of whiskey.
1 pony of vermouth.

Shake up well with two small lumps of ice ; strain into a claret glass, and serve with a quarter of a slice of lemon.

Now my twist on this ended up being a totally different drink, no surprise, substituting whiskey with bourbon, brandy with Metaxa and vermoth with Campari. Then adding a few new ingredients: honeymix, lime and Creme de Cassis.

LADY IN RED

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1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Metaxa 5*
1 oz Campari
Sprinkle of fresh lime
0.5 oz honeymix
Dash Creme de Cassis for deeper color

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, serve up.If you like, top with a splash of Club Soda. Garnish a pineapple leaf.

First i thought of using rye but then i realized i didn´t have any so i picked my Bulleit instead. The Angostura bitters and brandy were subbed with Campari and Metaxa and for some zing, a sprinkle of fresh lime. I didn`t find the color deep red enough so i added a splash of Creme de Cassis to deepen it. The drink was tasty, and i think Metaxa, Bourbon and Campari goes quite well together.

So while i`m at it with the bourbon, next up is the Whisky Daisy. Now for the fun of it i want a total change! I figured the Whisky Daisy had to be transformed to something with a bitter edge as well and my mind inevitably went back to my very much beloved Campari.

Then my thoughts went further to the little bottle of Bob´s vanilla bitters on my shelf and which i like very much.Vanilla and Campari? nothing i`ve tried before so why not? even though i was wondering if the Campari wouldn`t overpower the vanilla flavor i just had to try it still, after all – making a twist is all about experimenting with flavors and  if it doesn´t turn out tasty, well then at worst the drink has to be zinked and you have learnt something on the way.

There are many recipes for this drink and here is the one from Jerry Thomas again, How to Mix Drinks (1887)

Whisky Daisy

Take 3 dashes gum syrup.
2 dashes Orgeat syrup.
The juice of half a small lemon.
1 wine-glass of Bourbon, or rye whiskey.

Fill glass one-third full of shaved ice. Shake well, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill up with Seltzer or Apollinaris water.

BITTER VANILLA

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2 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz vanilla-gomme syrup
1 barspoon grenadine
0.5 oz Campari
3-4 good dashes Bob`s vanilla bitters (or other bitters)
Crushed ice
Garnish lemon wedge speared on a vanilla bean

I first used 1 oz lemon juice but found it a tad sour so in my 2nd drink i reduced it to 0.5 oz. The 0.5 oz vanilla-gomme syrup plus a barspoon grenadine makes it sweeter. Then instead of ice cubes i used crushed ice and the addition of Campari plus vanilla bitters added a pronounced and a pleasant bitterness. The vanilla flavour was lingering subtly in the background.

VANILLA-GOMME SYRUP

I simply did split a vanilla bean and simmered it with my already made gomme syrup and then let cool.

If these are superior twists? heh.. but still tasty!

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MOUNT GAY XO TDN !

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TDN Mount Gay was a success!

I wonder if we didn`t break the record yesterday in attendance and probably cocktails too, but people were coming and going so i lost track of how many we were all together. I don`t know how long they continued after i left but when i left the room was still full.

Part of the mixo crew were also doing this TDN live from Vessel with their fine bartenders mixing up our drinks. The whole thing was also live broadcasted by the mixoloseum videocam.

The prize for the best original cocktail of the evening will be provided by Mount Gay. And it’s a bottle of Mount Gay 1703…

Voting is now up at the mixoloseum blog.

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According to Chester Browne, Mount Gay’s head mixologist, the Mount Gay Distilleries was first called Mount Gilboa. After the death of Sir John Gay Alleyne, the company was renamed to honour this caretaker of the plantation. Hence it is now called Mount Gay.

When it comes to the new bottle for Mount Gay XO Chester says: “The product in the bottle is perfect, it is difficult to improve on perfection. We had a King in a shack, we just placed him in a palace”

So its just a new bottle, not a new or changed product. To me the old bottle was sort of “cozy” but didn`t reveal what a premium product it actually held, the new bottle is more of a statement of a premium rum reflecting its class.

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Chet Baker by Jamie Boderau.

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TDN attendance at Vessel.

Luckily all the drinks are on twitter so its easy to go back to get any recipe you like if you feel like mixing up any of the great cocktails that were made. There´s everything from “Kahiki Swell” – ” to “Bridgetown Sling”.

The names of the drinks at the TDN are sometimes as inventive as their content and the fun thing is that the later it gets in the night the wilder the drinks and sometimes the discussions..Unfortunately i was very tired after work yesterday so i only made a few drinks but they were nice all of them. I might make a few more today;-)

I had as usual as everybody else a bunch of drinks and here is one:

BRIDGETOWN SUNSET

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2 oz MGXO

0.5 oz Cointreau

1 tsp vanilla syrup

sprinkle of fresh lime

2 oz fresh blood orange juice.

Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a grilled blood orange slice in the glass.

Mount Gay XO and orange goes very well together, that`s for sure. Maybe i should have added some orange bitters as well?

JOIN THE MOUNT GAY XO TDN TOMORROW AT 7pm EST!

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Thursday Drink Night tomorrow april 9 is being sponsored by none other than the very fine rum Mount Gay XO which is the hot topic at tomorrows TDN at the Mixoloseum chat room.

Chester Browne, Mount Gay’s head mixologist will be joining the fray to answer questions and even mix up a few drinks with us. Come join the fun, mix drinks and chat with us or just lurk..

Every week cocktail bloggers, bartenders, enthusiasts, experts, and novices get together for a virtual cocktail party mixing drinks in real time,tweaking, rearranging etc until the night is gone and well into the morning. Its tons of fun!

So join me and the rest of the TDN crew this coming Thursday for TDN: Mount Gay Extra Old!

http://blog.mixoloseum.com/

ZWACK!

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Since 1790 the Hungarian company Zwack – founded by József Zwack – has made among others the bitter Unicum which was introduced in the US by Diaego in the new version which in the US is called Zwack.

When i received the little round bottle of Zwack i found that i`m really liking it, its a cute yummy little bottle containing a yummy liqueur.  The Zwack which in Europe is sold as “Unicum Next” is less bitter and more citrusy than the original Unicum. It contains more than 40 herbs and is aged in oak casks for at least six months.

I have a love for bitter tastes and when i tried Zwack i liked it, but its actually not that bitter, rather its herbal-spicy with citrus tones and the nose has hints of cough medecine. My overall thought on this one is that if you like Campari, Fernet or Unicum you`ll like Zwack. But Zwack is much less bitter than these so maybe its even a good starter for those who haven´t tried these bitter liqueurs.

Zwack is traditionally drunk as a shot with 1-1.5 oz Zwack and is served ice cold.

In the mixoloseum chat room it was suggested by Erik over at Underhill Lounge to try the Zwack in a Picon Punch replacing the Amer Picon with Zwack.The recipe for the Picon Punch at the Gumbo Pages looks really tasty, but any Amer Picon i didin´t have (not sold here)  and so i did what i call a Zwack Punch.

The Picon Punch recipe is as follows:

PICON PUNCH – The National Drink of the Basques

2 ounces Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
Few dashes of grenadine
Soda water
Lemon peel
1/2 ounce brandy (optional)

To do it Italian-style, coat the inside of a tumbler with grenadine. Add the Amer and ice, top with about 4 ounces soda and stir. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and garnish. If you feel the cockles of your heart need further warming, float a tablespoon or so of brandy on top.

ZWACK PUNCH

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2 ounces Zwack
Few dashes of grenadine
Soda water
Lemon peel
1/2 ounce brandy (optional)

Proceed as in the recipe above. I find this drink quite tasty if drunk in a small glass, more would be too much. I can see this one after a heavy meal now and then and also as a night cap sometimes. The round bottle is really a cute little thing and the name alone and then that cross on the label makes it look really interesting.

I read somewhere its the sexiest bottle on earth,  is it?

METAXA – MORE THAN A BRANDY

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Hailing from Greece, this is truly a unique spirit – a blend of brandy and wine – produced from three varietes of grapes, Savatino, Sultanina and Black Corinth. These are blended with aged muscat wines from Samos and Lemnos. Then its aged for a minimum of 3 years before being flavored with a secret mix of herbs including rose leaves and distilled water. The mix is then allowed to marry for a least 6 months and is then chilled at -6C for 48 hrs and after that finally filtrered before bottled. The final product has a very complex and unique aromatic character that has aromas of pepper and roses, bay leaf, cinnamon and nutmeg, aromatic and spicy indeed and at the same time its very smooth.

Metaxa was invented by Spyros Metaxas in 1888, from the Attica region –  the province of Athens, and who wanted to make a drink that conqered the world and it has actually even survived the 2 world wars and was the first alcoholic drink consumed in space. Now its exported all over the world and is among the top 50 spirits brands in the world. So conquered the world his drink did indeed!

By just reading these taste descriptions before i tried it i could almost feel the spiciness and i wasn`t dissappointed. Its rich, smooth, warm, spicy and earthy with undertones of citrus and something i cannot put my finger on what it may be – but its very pleasant. I was also quite astonished to discover that some drinks brought out a hint of a sort of slight medical aftertaste while others didn`t. Its surely a very intriguing spirit and certainly this is more than a brandy, it sits somewhere between a brandy and a liqueur.

The one Metaxa i can find here i is the 5 star and as far as i understand from what i hear its quite different from the 7 star which everybody from the US used during the Metaxa TDN. The 5 star is a dark honey color, woody with a light fruit taste, aged in oak for 5 years. Its rich, smooth and mellow and as i described above. The 7 star is  even smoother as its aged longer and therefore i wonder if the 5 star isn`t a bit better suited for mixed cocktails. Its nice too on its own though with some ice.

There`s also the Private Reserve, which includes some very old distillations – roughly some 50 years old  and is said to have marvellous aromatic flavours of  cocoa, vanilla, wood, pepper and dried fruits. Fullbodied and meant to sip like you sip a fine cognac.

Further we have also the 12 year which contrary to the others do not contain any muscat wine and is more tasting like a whisky with a smoky flavour profile and with more burn. Dry, rich, but sharper than the rest, with perfumes balancing well with the fruit, wood and spices. There are also released a 15 year old “Grand Fine” and a few other exclusive anniversary bottlings such as Metaxa Centenary, Rhodes, Golden Reserve, Grand Olympian and Golden Age.

I myself wouldn`t mind laying my hands on a Metaxa Centenary Private Reserve which comes in a beautiful ceramic bottle shaped like a greek amphora and plaited with 18k gold.This bottle was launched for celebrating 100 years of success (1888-1988) and is now a unique collectors item. The content in this beautiful bottle is Metaxas oldest distillates.

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So the TDN was a always pretty crowded with all manner of cocktail related folks in the Mixoloseum chat room, and there were the SF crew too, all gathered in Erik`s house doing their best to wreck his homebar. The winning cocktail for this TDN will receive a Bitters Blueberry courtesy of Greg Boehm from Mud Puddle and it will also enter the Imbibe Ultimate Metaxa Cocktail Contest.

As always, there was an array of cocktails made and fun it was! (it always is) All the cocktail recipes you can find at twitter – Mixoloseum. Naturally Metaxa mixes very well with lemon but i also used lime in one of my recipes, it also goes well with honey.

Here are my drinks for the night:

ATTICA STAR

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1.5 oz Metaxa
0.5 oz Tequila blanco
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honeymix (1:1honey and water)
1:1 Sweppes lemon and Fevertree bitter lemon to top.

Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass.Top with 1:1 Fevertree bitter lemon and  Schweppes lemon.Garnish lime twist.

This drink really was tasty and i was surprised as to how well Metaxa mixes with certain (or many) ingredients, this drink i had only one of during the evening as i had so many other tasty drinks  but i could have drunk buckloads of it. One of my rare lucks i guess, and it seems to me like Metaxa goes well with my preferred type of drinks (the fruity-spicy ones)

METAXA SMASH

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1 oz Metaxa
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
5-6 Thai sweet-basil leaves for the muddle and a bunch of sprigs for the garnish
0.5 oz honey-mix (1.1 honey and water)
Sprinkle of fresh lemon
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda.

Muddle basil, lemonjuice and honeysyrup in glass, add ice, Metaxa and gin. Stir.
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda. Garnish with a veritable forest of fresh Thai sweet-basil.

As the muddled basil leaves are still in the glass its no good idea to use a straw but dip your nose deep into the Thai basil garnish and let it attack your senses. This drink is really refreshing and it was way much tastier than i first expected, enjoy! (if you like basil)

SIESTA

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2.5 oz Metaxa
0.75 oz Aperol
Top with Prosecco, garnish lemon wedge. Rocks glass. Very simple and Metaxa works well with both Aperol and Prosecco, in fact i have found that it works well with a lot of things.

GOLDEN SUN

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2 oz Metaxa
Sprinkle of lemon
Absinthe rinse
Top with Sanpellegrino Limonata. Garnish lemon twist. Rocks glass.

Rinse the glass with absinthe and fill with cracked ice. Add Metaxa and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice, stir. Top with some Sanpellegrino limonata or other lemon soda. Garnish with a lemon twist.

First i didn`t know what to mix this with but through all my experimenting during this Metaxa TDN i have found out one thing, and that is that it definetily mixes well with many ingredients as well as being very tasty neat. Its now a part of my drink mixing arsenal. Actually i wonder how come i haven´t tried it before? it was a pity i was a bit underage when i was in Greece.

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Delicana Cachaca

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Delicana Cachaça is an artisanal cachaca and pure natural product without chemical additives, produced in Minas Gerais and comes in four different expressions: (silver, gold, premium and cinnamon- orange liqueur/ spiced) They are sold in 1 litre bottles. All artisanal cachaca uses cold-pressed sugarcane.

In front of me I have samples of 3 of the cachacas, the silver, gold and the cinnamon-orange liqueur cachaca. The last one I was especailly curious about as its the first spiced cachaca I try and I was very pleasantly surprised. It has nice and natural cinnamon/orange flavor and I believe this one will be very nice as a cocktail ingredient. The bottle has a nice colorful label and its made from 100% natural ingredients.

The silver cachaca is stored several months in jequitiba barrels and its pleasantly mild and flavorful. The gold cachaca is stored in oak barrels and has a more sturdy flavor with more bite as well. It has a vanilla tone and the color is beautifully golden, this one is also very mild. Both the silver and the gold cachacas are 38% ABV or 76 proof.

The natural cocktail for cachaca is fresh and fruity, like the caipirinhas or batidas. I love these fresh fruity cocktails and inspired by the mouth watering L-Stop caipirinha at Cachacagora I decided to mix up a similar drink with the Delicana cachacas paired with 2 of Bob´s bitters.

The Golden Spiced Caipirinha


1/2 lime, end cut off and split into four equal pieces.

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 ounce of  Lime Sugar (recipe below)

1.5 oz Delicana Gold cachaca

0.75 oz Delicana spiced orange liqueur-cinnamon cachaca

Top with Ting (or other grapefruit soda)

2 dashes grapefruit bitters (I used Bob´s)

Rim the glass with lime  sugar. I made my lime sugar a bit differently and zested one lime and mixed with fine raw canesugar.

Then cut the ends of 1/2 lime and quarter it, add to glass. Add 1 oz fine raw sugar. Muddle and add cachaca, spiced cachaca and bitters. Add crushed ice, stir. Top with a little Ting and add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with a lime wedge and some sprinkled lime-sugar on top.

This drink is so fresh that my brain zings! and there`s a pleasant cinnamon aftertaste.


After this drink I tried the silver cachaca and made a tiki style batida. I haven`t yet seen any cachaca in a tikidrink so I think its about time.

PineappleTiki Batida

I was first going to make a regular batida and then I got to think about that pineapple I had lying about in the kitchen. It had a top that was small and fun looking, and would make a fun garnish. A pineapple top garnish naturally fits a tiki drink and it was then I got the idea to marry the batida with the tiki and thus it became a tiki style batida.


4-6 pineapple chunks from a just matured (not so sweet) pineapple

1 barspoon limesugar

1 barspoon vanilla-orgeat

sprinkle of fresh lime juice

2.5 oz delicana silver cachaca

0.5 oz sweet condensed milk

Dash Bob`s licorice bitters (or other bitters)

Muddle pineapple chunks, sugar and orgeat in shaker, add bitters, sprinkle of lime juice, sweetmilk and cachaca. Shake and strain ( double strain if needed) into a large glass filled with ice. Pour into a large ice filled glass and garnish with a whole (small) pineapple top.

My overall impression with Delicana cachaca is good,  I especially like the gold and I`m intrigued by the orange liqueur – cinnamon spiced, it will be very fun to mix drinks with.

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