MxMo XLI: VODKA IS YOUR FRIEND

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And so its time again for the next Mixology Monday!

The one in July never happened..and good was that, i think many agree. For myself, i did completely forget about that one – wound up in the after-waves of the Tales and i don`t think i was the only one.

So what`s on the topic for this one? well…its actually vodka and our host Amelia at Felicia’s Speakeasy says:

The theme of August 10th’s Mixology Monday is “Vodka is Your Friend.” The recent high profile bashings of vodka interspersed with a few weak “yeah, buts…” left me wondering, is vodka the axis of evil, our most dangerous enemy? While it may not be the life of the party, experts agree: Vodka’s obituary does not have to be written just yet.

Thanks for hosting! this should be fun.

So there we go…let´s see now what to do with this spirit said to be the best selling spirit of all in many places. I`m not usually a vodka drinker despite growing up in a vodka country but i do for the moment have a bottle of Uluvka and then a 176 proof Balkan in my bar which so far has been used for infusions. I`m of the opinion that there´s not that much flavour in vodka but i do know that there are vodkas out there with flavour.

Its true though that becuase its quite flavourless its like an empty canvas for you to spread about your fresh local fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. That´s the good thing. On the other hand i think its more fun to pair my mixers with various types of flavourful spirits..

When i was in New Orleans we went to a great place called Attiki and they served the best Bloody Mary i ever had (but it was made with gin.) Ever since i had that one its been in the back of my head to try to make a variation of it at home. And so now with vodka as a topic in this MxMo i  find a perfect opportunity to make a New Orleans style Bloody Mary.

I made some research on the net for various Nola style Mary`s and found a few recipes and then made my own variation.

NOLA STYLE BLOODY MARY

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* 2.5 oz tomato juice (i made from fresh very ripe tomatoes and added a tbsp tomato paste as well plus the bajou blast)
*2  oz vodka (Uluvka)
* 0.25 oz overproof vodka (Balkan)
* 0.5 tsp  fresh lemon juice
* 0.5 tsp  fresh lime juice
* 0.5 tsp prepared horseradish
* Worcestershire sauce to taste
* Louisiana hot sauce to taste
* pinch freshly ground black pepper
* pinch  Bayou Blast
* dash Peychaud´s
* 1 tbsp of the juice from okra jar
* Pickled okra, for garnish
* Green olives for garnish
* Black olive coarse sea salt to rim the glass

For tomato juice: Blend a couple of ripe tomatoes in a blender and strain. I also mixed in the Bajou blast here.

Prepared horseradish: Take a very small piece of horseradish and add 0.5  tsp cider vinegar and water and puree in mortar until smooth.

Bayou Blast: For one drink take a pinch ea of these things and mix them well: paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder,dried oregano,dried thyme, black pepper, cayenne. All dried spices.

Rim a tall glass with black olive coarse sea salt and set aside. Shake well over ice and double strain. Garnish with a pickled okra and 1-2 olives.

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MARTIN MILLER`S GIN & SPONSORED TDN

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When i first tasted Martin Miller´s gin i found it had a special flavor and i really like it, it has a smooth and a bit earthy-bitter juniper flavour paired with an overall pleasant spicinress and slightly bright citrus and herbal flavours in between.

There´s one thing i specifically like with good gins and its that you can make such refreshing cocktails as gin contains both fruity, citrusy, earthy and spicy elements.

Actually gin is flavored alcohol – but it isn`t that simple.The alchol must be re-distilled and made from grains of the highest quality, there´s a lot of herbs, spices, roots and citrus peels involved which are picked from all over the globe and individually treated. All done by recipes kept secret to only a few of the makers.

And then you have the distillation which is a whole process of its own.Martin Miller`s gin is distilled by a single pot still (as opposed to most gin`s using three pots) using only the heart of the distillate, discarding the rest which isn`t re-distilled.This single pot still which seems to make the flavours more concentrated is called Angela and was made in 1904.

This is the gin that uses pure soft glacier water from Iceland because this water is said to be cleaner, softer and full of life force. I find that pretty amazing that they actually ship the gin all the way to Iceland! There its blended with more neutral spirit and glacier water, then its shipped away again.

There´s no doubt that this is very soft and i wouldn`t mind trying that glacier water sometimes just to see how it tastes by itself, i just don´t know how a bottle of pure glacier water from island would reach me unless i go there myself.

As for steeping the herbs and spices the old traditional methods are used where the botanicals are steeped overnight in spirit and hot water and this gentle maceration is what is needed to create a premium gin.The dried citrus peels are also separately distilled in order to achieve a brighter citrus flavour.

The dried bitter seville orange rind is the most important botanical after juniper in gin making and personally i love the bright seville orange flavour – it has such a refreshing aromatic aroma, and my homemade seville orange syrup always goes fast.In Martin Miller`s gin lemon and lime rinds are also used.

These are the botanicals used as far as i know, surely there are some secrets too:

Juniper, seville orange, lime, lemon, coriander, angelica, liqorice root, cassia bark and to bind it all together and impart a floral aromatic flavour – Florentine iris.

I try sometimes to make just one cocktail in my posts but mostly it doesn´t work, and that is simply because i enjoy making them so much! So here are four, at least its not ten! three of them was submitted to the TDN. Unfortunately they are all quite similar, that is because i like the light and fresh style of drinks with gin, like gin&tonic.

GRAIN OF PARADISE  G&T (GOP)

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1.5 oz Martin Miller`s gin
0.5 oz GOP syrup
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Top with a good quality tonic water

Build in glass over ice and garnish with lime wedge or if you can find it – Grain of Paradise leaves.

This is a very fresh G&T with a slight peppery note, the flavor of Martin Miller´s gin shines through just perfectly – serve it with the glass loaded with large ice cubes!  This is for the moment my favorite cocktail.

GRAIN OF PARADISE  SYRUP

Make a simple syrup using 1:1 water and raw sugar, add a handful lightly toasted grains of paradise seeds and boil lightly for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, cool and strain into a clean bottle.

The grains of paradise seeds adds a slight earthy hot peppery aromatic flavour.The plant is related to cardamom and surely looks very similar but with thinner leaves, also reminding very much of the ginger plant. Its also called Guinea pepper or Melegueta pepper.

GOP`s are found (at least here) in speciality stores and by health or herbal medecine suppliers.To substitute GOP you may use a mixture of pepper and a little ginger.

GIN CHILI

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2oz Martin Miller`s gin
Juice of ½ lime
piece of red chili
0.5oz simple syrup
1 stalk fresh mint
Tonic.

Muddle chili, lime, mint and simple. Add gin, shake and strain and pour into ice filled glass.Top with tonic.Garnish one large red chili and mint or other green leaf.

MARTIN MILLER´S SPONSORED TDN

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As a grand finale after much gin in the mixoloseum chat room we were sponsored by Martin Miller´s gin this last thursday and there were many drinks parading. Part of the crew were doing TDN live from Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco.

This was the announcement:

TDN – Martin Miller’s Gin  Thursday Drink Night has had a love affair with gin lately, and I’m pleased to say it’s ending on a sultry note. Martin Miller’s gin is like the triple cream offering on the cheeseboard. You save that last cracker and dot of kumquat-vanilla jam for the final remaining sliver of goopy heaven.

This week, Martin Miller’s gin is that morsel of yum. Join us on TDN  where we’ll be mixing an endless onslaught of original ginny libations.  A contingent of freaky mixologists will be live at Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco, mixing up MM potions live.

There will be a webcam and Camper in the same location. Saying more would be pointless.

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As far as i could see from the webcam Bourbon and Branch is a real interesting and nice looking place.

It has an intersting history taking you back to the era of Prohibition when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverage was outlawed.Its  an actual speakeasy that operated illegally at this location from 1921 to 1933. During prohibition it was a “cigar shop” – The JJ Russell Cigar Shop –  and operated from 1923-1935 during the height of prohibition at the very same address that today is Bourbon & Branch.

This speakeasy featured five secret exit tunnels which are still there today and the exit tunnels allowed for a quick underground getaway from the basement speakeasy.The most obscure was specifically made for the ladies exit leading a safe passage a whole block away.The speakeasy actually managed to escape the the governments prohibition agents attention for the remainding time of the prohibition.

I find this fascinating, hope to be able to visit some day.

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Its really fun to see your own and the other drinks being mixed up live and commented on in addition to the global mixing in the chat room that is TDN.

The prize for the best cocktail of the evening will be voted by a poll at mixoloseum blog and the winner will receive a bottle of Bitter Truth orange bitters courtesy of Mud Puddle Books.

Usually its about 30 cocktails per night that is made when its TDN and of course you cannot try them all, but of all the drinks that were submitted, here are a few of mine plus one whimsical late-night volcano fire drink and one tasty cocktail from cocktailnerd. Many thanks to the bartender Jon Santer for mixing up our drinks at Bourbon & Branch. He was one of the bartenders who was there when B&B opened.

All the drink recipes can be seen at http://twitter.com/mixoloseum

MEDITERRANIAN SUN

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2  oz Martin Miller´s Gin
0.5 oz seville orange syrup
1 oz Aperol
Bitter lemon soda to top

Shake all ingredients except the soda, strain and pour into a hiball filled with large chunky ice. Garnish with a orange slice and fresh mint (also in the glass)

Very similar to the GOP but with a slighly orangey-bitter flavor of both the seville syrup and Aperol instead.

DANCING ELF

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2 oz Martin Miller´s gin
0.5 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1-2 thin slices fresh ginger
Dash Bob`s cardamom bitters (or muddle a few green cardamoms with the ginger and syrup)
Prosecco to top

Muddle ginger and simple syrup in shaker. Add gin and grapefruit juice, shake hard and strain into a highball and garnish with a ginger slice or cardamom leaf.

VOLCANO QUEEN  (by Tiare and Rick)

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1 oz Martin Miller´s  gin
1 oz rhum agricole blanc
0.5 ox fresh lime
0.5 oz orgeat.

Top with bitter lemon soda or other soda. Float Jwray. Garnish: Pour Jwray in a passionfruit shell, set alight and dust cinnamon on top to get those flames alive and sparkling.

This is an example of the kind of drinks that are most spontaniously invented on the spot during the late TDN hours.

And here is a original concoction from no other than Cocktailnerd – the  King of Word Replacements in the Mixoloseum chat room – the recipe calls for Creme de Framboise which i didn´t have, so i made mine with Creme de Cassis, it was also tasty but i`ll have to re-make it later as i want to mix it the way its supposed to.

LONDON BRIAR (By Cocktailnerd)

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2oz Martin Miller’s Gin
0.5oz Creme de Framboise
0.5oz Lime Juice
0.25oz Maraschino liqueur
0.25oz green chartreuse

Shake togehter the whole thing and strain into a ice-filled glass. Enjoy!

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. Join us every thursday at the TDN!

http://blog.mixoloseum.com/

MIXOLOSEUM IS A CREATIVE PLACE!

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MXMO XL – GINGER

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This months Mixology Monday is all about ginger and is hosted by our own RumDood and he says:

For the MxMo: Ginger, participation is relatively simple.

  • Find or concoct a cocktail recipe that uses ginger in one of its many forms as an ingredient.  This can be muddled ginger, sliced ginger, ginger syrup, ginger beer (commercial or homemade), ginger liqueur, ginger candy, or pieces of a shredded photo of Ginger from Gilligan’s Island.
  • Make this recipe, take a picture of it, and then post the recipe, your thoughts about the recipe, and your photo on your blog or at the eGullet Spirits and Cocktails forum.

I think Dood have picked a great theme and no surprise – its very rum-friendly.

Indeed ginger is one of my favorite spices, its one of my essentials and not only for cooking and cocktail mixing and infusions its my no 1 cold remedy as well. You just boil up some chopped ginger root with 1L water and leave overnight to steep, then drink it as tea with milk and honey or just as is.

Using ginger in cocktail mixing – there are almost unlimited options here, you can use the lovely fragrant and biting ginger in so many ways and in so many cocktails. I think ginger pairs exceptionally well with rum but also with cachaca, tequila, mezcal, bourbon..you name it – actually i wonder what ginger wouldn`t pair well with?

As its summer and hot (well..at least its supposed to be but someone told me the Swedish summer has moved to the US)  i wanted to make something refreshing and oh..this wonderful spicy flavor and aroma is so addictive!

Yesterday i passed by the multi-equipped Indian-Caribbean shop here to see if they have yet gotten any more Ting but they didn´t.. so i picked a can of ginger beer instead and decided to use it for this MxMo post.

Then i also decided to make a cocktail that is  gingery in every way i can make it including using ginger leaves for the garnish and here it is:

ZINGIBER COCKTAIL

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1-2 thin slices fresh ginger and 1/4 oz simple syrup – muddle
Add 2 oz dark rum like Appleton extra
Add 0.5 oz JWray overproof
Dash Bob`s ginger bitters
Top with ginger beer

Shake and strain – serve in glass with crushed ice. Garnish slice of ginger and if you have it – a ginger leaf

I really should have made homemade ginger beer but i didn`t have the time – ok i admit…i was lazy –  so i used Old Jamaica ginger beer, more or less the only ginger beer sold here. I find ginger beer to be a lovely cocktail mixer and it goes very well with JWray too.


Well, this cocktail here is all about the ginger really – and rum – and both are friends of mine.

MxMo XXXIX – AMARO

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Oh how i love this topic! thank you Chuck for hosting this MxMo at the Gumbo Pages which i consider being a fantastic blog.

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One amaro two amari..

These bitter herbal liqueurs are very dear to me because for some weird reason its some of the first alcohol drinks that i tried and that was in Italy, and therefore i always feel the memories of that wonderful country when i drink a nice amaro. I just need to look at a bottle  to get that special feeling. Oddly enough Cynar is one of the amaris which i tried later than sooner.

Now its not just the italians that makes bitter liqueurs but really the italians have made it into an art to create diverse liqueurs from all sorts of unlikely ingredients, just think about Cynar! (artichoke) or Amaro Nonino which is made from grappa infused with herbs, plus grain alcohol, and ingredients that include caramelized sugar, bitter orange, cinchona, galenga, gentian, liquorice, quassia wood, rhubarb, saffron, sweet orange and tamarind.

One of the most famous amaris is Amaro Averna from Sicily which among other things contains chinotto, the bitter orange which i really like. I once read somewhere that the italians have invented more than 300 different kinds of after-dinner digestive drinks for relieving the heaviness that often follows their meals.

Amaro means bitter in italian and its a bitter herbal liqueur, a digestif usually drunk after dinner, having a tonic effect, cleansing the palate between meals. Amari are most often drunk neat with a citrus wedge, ice or with a topping of tonic water, here simplicity is the best, but they are also wonderful mixers for other cocktails.

For this post i decided to use Ramazotti menta which i don´t use that very often and now i got a wonderful opportunity to make more use of it. Ramazotti menta is also a bit challenging i think as the mint flavor really can be a bit overpowering, i think mint has a way to do that unless its fresh.

The original Amaro Ramazotti is a reddish-brown digestive that sits somewhere in the mid-range of bitterness with a bit of an orangey flavor. Its made with 33 ingredients and among them are cinchona tree bark, cinnamon, gentian, oregano, bitter orange from Curaçao sweet oranges from Sicily.

Ramazotti was first made in Milano in 1815 by Ausano Ramazotti who created it in his shop as a tonic liqueur made from herbs and spices including gentian root, rhubarb, cinnamon and the peel from Sicilian oranges. Ramazzotti does not contain artificial color or flavour materials.

Now with this menta version i made a very simple digestive, amaro menta with some ice and fresh orange juice topped off with a small splash of fernet, another famous amaro and one of my favorites along with campari..

MENTA AMARO

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1 oz Ramazotti menta
2 oz fresh orange juice
Small splash fernet branca
Soda to top
Ice cubes
Garnish orange wedge and mint

Half fill a rocks glass with ice cubes, add Ramazotti menta and orange juice, stir. Add a small splash fernet branca and top with soda. Fill up with more ice and garnish with a orange wedge and mint sprig.

The topping off with a small splash of Fernet followed by soda will layer the bitter flavors a bit.

I was very tempted to even top off with a few dashes of bitters but i resisted, that would have been too much different bitter flavors outdoing each other. Even the combination of Ramazotti menta and Fernet is maybe a bit unusual but actually i find it tasty. The color isn`t the most appetizing, a cloudy murky sort of brown but dont let that fool you, this tastes much better than it looks.

Overall this cocktail was tasty enough to make me want to drink it again. The fun thing is that rather than feeling like a digestive it sparked my appetite for wanting more of both the dinner and another drink.

 Finally one last thing, i sometimes enjoy a shot of Swack which is a lighter version of the original Unicum (or i enjoy a shot of Fernet).

 amaro-unicum

And with this i want to finish by saying that i really looking forward to read the roundup, so don`t forget to check out the Gumbo pages in a few days.

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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?