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).

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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?

MxMo XXXVII – The First Time

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Paul over at Cocktail Chronicles has been organizing a monthly online cocktail event he calls Mixology Mondays, and this Mixology Monday calls for a good gateway cocktail.

The ladies at Lupec Boston has come up with this question: “This event was inspired by a chance encounter I had with an almost-famous Christian rock musician who, at age 32, had never had a cocktail. ‘I’d like to try one sometime,’ he said, ‘What do you think I should have?’

A good question..which got me to think about some old days…thank you for hosting this MxMo which challenges us to find a suitable cocktail for the first cocktail experience.

This has to be a drink that really is a cocktail but not too strong, it shouldn`t scare off but rather be a pleasant experience, it needs to have flavors, this compelled me to go through a few of my cocktail books at first. Finally i made a passionfruit mojito but nah…it became quite boring…

Here we need something better! something more tasty and preferable light. Going back in time to my own first cocktail experiences, i remember a cocktail that i still feel nostalgic about when i think about it and which, i think is a perfect new-beginner cocktail, namely the old Tom Collins. This is pure nostalgia!

Its a very simple recipe, gin, lemon juice, superfine sugar, club soda. But i wanted something more to it this time, so i decided to add some fresh ginger and a hint of cardamom to give it a bit of spicy freshness.

TOM SPICY GINGER COLLINS

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2 ounces gin

1 ounce lemon juice

1 thin slice fresh ginger

1 green cardamom pod

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

2 ounces soda water.

Muddle ginger, cardamom and sugar in shaker, add the rest of ingredients except club soda and shake with ice. Strain into a collins glass filled with ice and top with club soda.

Garnish with orange slices and cherry.

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