A full three weeks ago, my friend Katie and her husband sent me a box full of grapefruit. Eighteen grapefruit, nestled in foam, to be quite precise. When life gives you grapefruit, make grapefruit cocktails! read the label.
So make grapefruit cocktails we did. Cecilia and I have been making Palomas and Greyhounds and other inventions, but still haven’t consumed them all.
Sunday night, having made chana masala and rajmah chawal for my Holy Week lunches, I had a cup or two of aquafaba left over. This liquid from canned beans, which I used to pour down the drain, can be used in mixing flips or fizzes in place of egg or albumen…and, since Cecilia’s Lenten observations include a vegan diet, I figured this was the time to try it!
In a bid to use the grapefruit juice, here’s what I came up with:
The Echo Echo Flip
2 oz gin (violet-infused Beefeater)
2.5 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz falernum syrup
2 tbsp aquafaba, whipped with 1 tbsp. sugar
To keep the shaking to a minimum, I whipped the aquafaba in a stainless steel bowl for 1 minute before grabbing a spatula to scrape it into the shaker with everything else. After 40 shakes, I strained my doubled recipe into these three glasses:
Possibly a better name exists, but the Casper Fry restaurant in Spokane, WA seems to have created a gin/grapefruit/lemon/falernum concoction, with different proportions and sans any kind of foaming agent, and christened it the Echo Echo.
The Music Orange also has a similar flavor profile, and includes the egg white foam. We may try adding bitters to switch it up tonight!
I broke down on New Year’s Day
and I mixed my drinks
and I lost my way
I walked past the houses
of every friend I’d ever known
and I set off on my own
Having promised a description of the Meursault (pronounced “mer-soo” or something like), I am striking while the proverbial iron is hot within my soul. If you are not a gin drinker, then take heart and have patience; I promise I’ll get the Myers and Bulleit back out ere long.
This drink is the brainchild of my lovely friend the Mead, who once remarked to me:
we need to invent a cocktail called meursault (in honor, of course, of this band, this song in particular: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwCD8dWY6xk). it strikes me as gin-based, with not too sweet a flavoring — perhaps something along cran or other berry lines. a drink, in short, that could make you lose your way, sink you into melancholy over what you’d left behind, and yet somehow also brace you for continuing onward.
So, proceeding on that basis, I got out my gin. Initially I had no cranberry anything around, but I did have a pomegranate, a lime, sugar, and grapefruit bitters, which were mixed as follows: a shot (1.5 oz) of Plymouth, a shot of squeezed* pomegranate juice, ½ oz lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3 dashes of grapefruit bitters. It was a good start, somewhat tart with an intriguing texture as well as some fun overtones from the bitters.
I added a bit more pomegranate juice and a touch more sugar the next time around, which edged it away from the tart end of the pH scale. The third time around, we juiced some fresh cranberries (which yields a fairly bitter extract, beware!) and mixed a tablespoonful of it with a shot of gin, a shot of pom juice, ½ oz lemon juice, and a tablespoonful of sugar.
The final iteration took what we’d learned from the first few rounds and fashioned it into something which, when partly prepared ahead of time, mixed up faster. There was still a shot of gin, and still a generous shot of pomegranate juice (I carefully bottled about 7 pomegranates’ worth). Having enjoyed both the lime flavor and the lemon flavor, I mixed and bottled equal amounts of both to use as the ½ ounce of citrus. The sugar was necessary to offset the extreme bitterness of the juiced cranberries, but dissolving it required more shaking than I preferred, so I opted to mix it into yet another jar, this one full of cranberry juice.
The effect of all the bottling was that I could head to my boss’s house and mix up some cocktails for the office’s Christmas party with relatively little vexation. Despite the last-minute substitution of Tanqueray for the less-piney Plymouth, even the people who “weren’t really gin drinkers” loved it. Merry Christmas and happy New Year.**
And I hope that someone is praying for me
out there at home
*Once upon a time, one of my brothers bought a Jack LaLanne power juicer for to make himself healthy drinks. He soon discovered that its purported “easy cleaning” was in fact rather complicated, tired of it rapidly, and handed it off to me. I don’t use it that often, but I love juicing pomegranates with it. POM Wonderful is one of the best pomegranate juices I’ve encountered, but it has nothing on the frothy fuchsia of freshly home-juiced pomegranate.
Which is sort of sad, I guess, for all the people who don’t have a juicer sitting about.
**But even those of us with juicers are doomed to suffer through Not Pomegranate Season, as I am right now, so POM is probably the best stopgap where I live. If one wanted to be really low-key about it, one could mix some gin, some Ocean Spray or Northland cran-pomegranate blend, and dash in some citrus to perk it up. Obviously it won’t give you the same texture, so be wary, as it might give you a touch more melancholy than intended.
Oh, hello. Yes, it’s been quiet around here for some time, hasn’t it? You probably thought I’d become some manner of Teetotaling Poop. I’m happy to report that’s not the case: I carried on mixing drinks but failed to carry on telling you about it.
But then the other night, La Roommate brought some cherries home, and it seemed a good plan to let you know what to mix with them should you find yourself having more cherries than you can eat.
The Yakimuddle/Traverse City Smash
At first I muddled about five of them (after removing the pit, and quartering them for easier muddlage), mixed that with 2 ounces of Plymouth gin, half an ounce of maraschino liqueur, half an ounce of lime juice, and some peach bitters. It turned out translucent and tasting rather like fruit punch, with a very strong maraschino smell and flavor, reminiscent of an Aviation cocktail. Not wanting the maraschino to dominate over the cherries or gin, which got a bit lost in the shuffle, I dialed it back and tried again.
The second iteration employed twelve muddled cherries, another 2 ounces of Plymouth, ¼ ounce lime juice, ¼ ounce lemon juice, ¼ ounce maraschino, ¼ ounce Amaretto, and 3 dashes peach bitters. This was more balanced, with a stronger cherry flavor and smell. It was an opaque crimson and rich, the cherry pulp giving it a dense texture, almost like a flip. The Amaretto’s nuttiness helped round out the flavors, and kept it sweet without being overkill.
The third iteration was quite similar, but I used a full 15 muddled cherries and 2 ounces of Tanqueray – partly to impart a stronger juniper flavor but also because I’d run out of Plymouth. When LR and I tried it, she said “Mmm, bit like Christmas, isn’t it? Kind of like a Meursault?” and I went “But the cherries, that’s like summer,” and we agreed that either way it was quite drinkable. It was also rather homogenous, so we threw in a bit of lemon peel and a bit of lime peel to contribute some zesty goodness and a bit of contrast.
One bit of warning: if you use the full recommended amount of cherries, it will take some time – a good three minutes by my clock – to muddle them. If I can bust out of my summer lethargy, I’ll try putting them through my juicer to see how that affects the texture.
My friend the Mead shares a lot of things with me: Joel Stickley’sexcellence, delightin theInkyFool, all manner of Scottish and Irish music, the occasional road trip, and more often than not, new drink recipes worth trying. Sometimes they call for ingredients beyond my pantry’s ken, but on occasion I have the necessary on hand.
Last month, she sent this: Irish Kiss
2 ½ oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz lemon simple syrup
Dash of bitters Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake well and serve up.
Fairly simple-looking, is it not? Indeed. But wait.
Here’s how to make the lemon simple syrup:
Zest 2 lemons (using a microplane) into a small sauce pan. Juice the lemons into a measuring cup. Remove the seeds. Note the amount of juice and add it to the pan. Add the same amount of sugar. Bring to a boil. Stir and then allow to cool.
The syrup alone sent LR and me into raptures, never mind mixing it with whiskey or using it to top ice cream (which, it turns out, is a stellar plan, especially if one dashes some grapefruit bitters here and there). The syrup is like a homemade sherbet lemon without fake coloring, or like a lemon meringue pie with no effort. It is lemon custard with no guilt. It is Turkish Delight without betraying your siblings or covering your clothing in confectioner’s sugar.
[Please note that as this was an experimental effort, and in order to avoid passing the point of hilarity, we split the drink in half. Typically it would be served in a cocktail glass or perhaps a coupe.]
Mixed with Jameson and bitters? Delicious. We should only hope that an Irishman’s kiss would be delightful as this drink!
As with the Carolingian Effort, the ThARDIS was born on account of a plant derivative that was languishing in the fridge. In this case, we had some thyme hanging about, so I boiled it with equal amounts sugar and water and then strained it out.
If this sounds to you like one of those overly-involved syrups that people make after spending too long around mixologists at The Grange…well, you’re perceptive. And correct to boot, though I will argue that making syrups assuages the guilt of buying an herb or spice and then not using the whole handful of it in the two days it retains any semblance of freshness.
Anyway, I made some thyme syrup. I tried mixing it with a few other favorites – gin, Chartreuse, the aforementioned ginger syrup, lemon – but that was a lot of weirdness in a small glass, and the resulting mixture was not even christened in some wise.
Then I scaled back. Instead of gin, I used vodka so the spirit wouldn’t outshine the syrup. I left the lemon but cut out the ginger and Chartreuse to keep the Flavour Madness at bay. Then, thinking that lemon, vodka, and sweetened thyme could get a bit thin, I added a few dashes of Fee’s Grapefruit Bitters:
1½ oz vodka
1 oz thyme syrup
½ oz lemon juice
3 dashes grapefruit bitters Combine, shake, and strain into a small cocktail glass.
I presented it to La Roommate, who was most pleased, both by the drink and by the lightning storms then visible on the horizon. In the face of summer storms, lemon and thyme and a few drops of bitters mix to create a harmonious blend of fresh, smooth, summery flavors.
As thyme was involved, it was nigh-imperative that the drink’s name involve some kind of pun. Since we felt the drink would have the power to change one’s perception of time, and since we are quite fond of Doctor Who, we named it after the TARDIS – Thyme and Relative Distance in Space.
At this point, it’s winter where we are, but I’m pretty sure the ThARDIS will take us to warmer climes whenever we shake one up.
To begin mixing drinks is to begin a journey; it is like any other skill, patiently learned and gradually honed, in that way. Whether your senses wake in the presence of one particular smell or flavor, or whether they must needs be saturated by layers of distinct yet elusive flavors – either way, your feet are wet, your mind is engaged, your eyes and ears strain to see and hear what was that? and where can I get it? and how do I make it?
These are the first pebbles of the avalanche. Had I not the example of others who understood the inevitability of ignorance in a hugely complex world, I might despair. There is so much to learn, and perhaps so much that must be learned, before taking further steps. There are so many spirits and heaven knows how many liqueurs, not to mention non-alcoholic juices and mixers, bitters and ices and other potables that evade characterization.
So as a beginner, I was pleased to find this list of so-called “Three Ingredient Drinks.” How streamlined! How simple!
…how disappointing to find that no, fruit and simple syrup and such things weren’t included in the count, and there wasn’t a single drink for which I had every ingredient. I looked over every recipe and tried to obtain the ingredients for some of them, including the Campari Collins. I’d have seltzer, lemon, and simple syrup anyway; I’d seen Campari mentioned here and there; I’d be delighted by this summery creation. Right?
Perhaps I should mention that the proportions for the drink were 4 oz chilled seltzer, 2 oz Campari, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice, and ¾ oz simple syrup.
Perhaps I should also mention that using two ounces of Campari is something like using two ounces of bitters. True, the Campari is less concentrated and has a deceitfully translucent color – but the Campari Collins was what you call a learning experience. My friend the Mead and I poured in more and more simple syrup, more seltzer, muddled strawberries, attempting to assuage the bitterness. Two ounces were just too much. In the end, we spent the rest of our languid morning sipping a sort of strawberry lemonade affair, followed by a Thoroughbred:
2 oz bourbon
1 oz orange juice
1 oz brown sugar simple syrup
2 dashes bitters Combine, shake, strain, and garnish with a twist of orange peel.
The Mead described it as “a julep with orange rather than mint.” And unlike the Campari, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
This post was originally logged on my other blog, The Egotist’s Club, but I have edited it slightly for this page.
My roommate made reference last year to Havana bourbonade – but, seeing as the stuff is the product of this recipe macerating in my mind under the guidance of the Muse (or, you know, Bacchus), I wanted to acquaint you with it.
Having seen Deb’s recipe for Vermontucky Lemonade – so-called because Vermont’s maple syrup and Kentucky bourbon are involved – I was intrigued enough to attempt it, only to be brought up short as my house was empty of maple syrup. I resolved to improvise with brown sugar, but then found that there were only two lemons to be found, rather than the pitcher-worth that the Smitten Kitchen called for.
So I improvised further, and here is the result: a concoction christened for that capital of cane and molasses (or…well…mostly I think it was the first Caribbean city that came to mind), whose name gives lemonade a nod while acknowledging that the proportions really favor bourbon.
Ingredients: equal measures brown sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice*, and water (I use an ounce of each), plus a shot or so of bourbon.
Combine the sugar, juice, and water in a small sealable container, unless you are convinced that a large sealable container is going to work for your sugar-dissolving purposes (or are making multiple servings at once). I find that an erstwhile bouillon jar holds it all quite nicely. Shake until the sugar dissolves.** Once it does so, empty into a rocks glass; add bourbon; stir; add ice.
The virtue of this drink, should you fail to be impressed, is that it allows the bourbon’s character to shine through. My roommate and I, among other friends, found that a smoother bourbon (e.g., Woodford Reserve) would create a much different drink than something punchier (e.g., Elijah Craig). The spiciness of the latter shows up well. Also, if you are one prone to nurse drinks, it does not suffer as the ice melts.
*I discovered quite accidentally how important this is. Note the juicer on the right and how much more juice it gives than that on the left; this is due to how one may apply pressure more forcefully and evenly upon the rind. The green press crushes out a bit of juice, but by no means all, and it has no hope of dislodging the pulp of each lith. Anyone determined to get more juice with the green press must be reconciled to destroying the lemon shell, which could enjoy new life as a Sam Ward. Anyone too apathetic to get at the pulp will end up with lackluster bourbonade; the mouthfeel is much duller without those lemony vesicles. Anyone with a fancy electric reamer like Deb’s can just go to town. Make sure you’ve got plenty of water on hand lest you pass the point of hilarity all too quickly.
**One might note that this looks a lot like lemon mixed with simple syrup, made with brown sugar rather than white. However, simple syrup typically is boiled, which I think would translate into a less fresh, less piquant cocktail.
Go forth, friends, and make extravagant toasts.
To summertime! To friendship, generosity, and ten Galleons a hair! To the God who hath made sugar, lemon, corn, and distillers!