Friday, August 26, 2016

Blackened Cocktails

Averna is a beautiful, Italian herbal digestif liqueur with it's own distinct character that I've recently grown to love, especially as a replacement for the less alcoholic and lower shelf-lifed Vermouth. Despite appearances I don't really drink enough on my own to ever get through a bottle of Vermouth before it starts to sour. So, instead of dumping half full bottles (or more accurately, chugging sour Vermouth) I was happy to come across a recipe for a Black Negroni which substituted the Vermouth with Averna. Notes withing the recipe suggested that this worked in many such cocktails such as a Black Manhattan, Black Boulevardiers, etc. It was time to give this a try, while none of these are terribly original drinks, I had a mission. It was time to put on some Enslaved and blacken some cocktails.

The Black Horse
This is the drink that started my love for Averna. When trying to come up with a base for a Black Horse of the Apocalypse cocktail I came across the Black Negroni which had reference to The Black Manhattan. The Black Horse is basically a Black Manhattan with Rye and an Absinthe wash and it works really, really well.
Get The Black Horse Recipe here.

Black Lace
Based on The Arsenic and Old Lace Cocktail, this is another classic that seemed fit to be blackened with Averna.
Get the Black Lace recipe here.

The Widow in Black
A twist on the Merry Widow. I’d have called it The Black Widow if it wasn’t so obvious and there was already a shitty tequila drink with that name.
Get The Widow in Black recipe here.

The Black Mirror
This is a filch of The Broken Mirror. Unlike all of the other Averna Black cocktails, this one didn’t originally have a Vermouth to switch out. Instead, I swapped out the Lime Juice.
Get the Black Mirror recipe here.

The Black Jewel
Taken from The Jewel Cocktail on the Imbibe site which is an even 1:1:1 version of the Bijou and Blackened with the substitution of Averna for the Sweet Vermouth.
Get the Black Jewel recipe here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Baphomet on the Beach

1 1/2 oz Devil’s Share White Whiskey
1/2 oz. Mansinthe Absinthe
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
1 oz. Orange Juice (Blood Orange if you can)
1 oz. Maurin Quina

Shake first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled Collins Glass. Top with Maurin Quina and garnish with a Blood Orange Wheel.

Based on a Sex on the Beach but made with the most Devilish ingredients I had and some bad intent, the flavor profile actually isn't so bad.

Conversation at lunch today of course came up on the incident in Nice where a woman in a "Burkini" was confronted and, by all counts, humiliated in public by the police. This lead to a conversation about a number of things, staying quite civil as we were friends with like minds and the internet wasn't involved.

My final conclusion was that no matter how much I hate oppressive religions where followers convince themselves that this oppression is God's will, I hate governments who enforce their own militant oppression of bullshit laws that really only make matters worse. You're now continuing to make more people push back.

So, with this in mind I mentioned that this just made me want to go to the beach in Nice wearing my full priest cassock with a Baphomet mask to see if I'd get arrested for not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”... which I guess I wouldn't be. I'd be a Baphomet on the beach.

"That sounds like a drink".

"You should make a 'Baphomet on the Beach' cocktail".

So, I did.

Week 33: Absainte Blanche [52 Whispers from the Muse]

Absainte Blanche

Overall Rating: 4.1
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.0
Finish: 4.0
Overall: 4.0

Style: Blanche        
ABV: 55%
Country: Switzerland       
Distillery: Absainte Fleurier   

Appearance: Bright and clear like diamond.
Louche: Very active and full louche. Rolling cascades of white clouds with hints of a very light blue. Ends with a slightly pearl translucence.
Aroma: Subtle and candy like, but not overtly sweet. Reminds me of the old ribbon candies you find at a grandparent's house (or great-grandparent at this point) when sweets were more than just sugar and coloring, but that could just be me romanticizing the nostalgia. It didn't spread out very far but that could be due to the heavy humidity in the apartment on the day of tasting.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Again, very subtle. It's complexities are there but they take a bit to flourish. The predominant flavor is Anise but there are lots of little hellos from the rest of the trinity as well as an underlying, light herbal cloud.
Finish: All very pleasant and unassuming experience. I generally prefer Absinthes with a little more pop but there is no denying the crisp freshness of Absainte. I imagine it would make a lovely Absinthe Frappe on a hot day.
Overall: For me the best flavor came at about 1.5:1 Water to Absainte. for me the best flavor came at about 1.5:1 Water to Absainte. I always have to watch myself to not over dilute lower ABV Absinthes, especially when one has a wonderfully dynamic louche that I just enjoy watching.

A while ago I ordered a set of DuVallon Absinthes from Absinthe House in my quest to get a bottle of Sevil. Unfortunately I was contacted after placing the order and they apologetically explained that they were out of the Sevil. Instead I was offered this 2015 Absinthiades Gold Metal winning Absinthe instead. They even threw in a small bottle of the Absainte Verte as well which I haven't had the heart to open yet. I always feel a deep sense of loss when a rare bottle is emptied and in this case there is only one or 2 drinks even in the little bottle.

While I can say that I was disappointing to not get the Sevil, I'm not disappointed with the substitutions. There was also another DuVallon that was unavailable which was substituted with a 1L bottle of La Fée Line which I'll get to another week. Quite generous.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Not At Sunset Cocktail: Dread Pirate Pimms

1 1/2 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1 oz. Pimm’s #1
a few Meyer Lemon Slices
a few Cucumber Slices
Crabbie's Ginger Beer

Gently muddle a cucumber and a lemon slice in a chilled highball glass. Stir in Rum and Pimm's. Fill with crushed ice and the rest of the Lemon and Cucumber slices, then top with Ginger Beer. Give it a quick, final stir and garnish with a Lemon Twist.

More joy for the hot weather while I planned to be out on the deck making things. Unfortunately, just after I got started, we seem to have lost power in the whole area. And I just cooked a shitload of food for the week. Hopefully it won't be out too long. At least today the heat has been almost bearable so far, though I'd love to be able to shower at the moment. I'm kinda sweaty and covered in cardboardy sawdust.

The first Pimm's Cup I ever had was at The Pirate's Ally in NOLA. It was on a typical blisteringly hot day and the cocktail instantly relieved any discomfort the weather dolled out. This is an homage to that, with some Rum making it more Piratey.

One thing I did do with this was plan ahead a little when making the drink. I took the lemon peel for the garnish from the topmost of the lemon, then took a slice from where I took the peel from. I then cut away the pith of that slice to use as the initial piece of muddling lemon to keep from muddling any pith. I have no ide if that affected the cocktail at all, but it made me feel brainy.

I gave this cocktail its own page

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Oleoed Fashioned

2 oz. James E. Pepper 1776 Rye
1 oz Oleo Saccharum
3 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters

Add everything to an ice filled rocks glass, give it a stir and garnish with a Meyer Lemon slice.

Oleo Saccharum is a beautiful bit of Alchemy. Adds that bit of sweetness and citrus in a much more discriminating way that sugar and lemon juice. I can’t believe I didn’t find another person who made a drink called Oleoed Fashioned….

To make the Oleo Saccharum this time I used:
2 Full Peels of Orange
1 Full Peel of Meyer Lemon
1 Full Peel of Libson or Eureka Lemon
Be sure to only get the peel and no pith.
Two ounces of white sugar per one whole citrus, or one ounce in the case of smaller citruses with thinner rinds, such as Limes.
Some hot water to dissolve leftover sugar

Add peels to a bowl with a cover. Add the sugar and muddle until all of the peels have a good, complete coating of sugar. Let sit for 4 hours to overnight. After all of the syrup has been extracted, add a bit of hot water to dissolve any remaining sugar granules and strain into a bottle. One recipe called for water at half the volume of the sugar added but I found that even a portion of that made my first batch thin. Since it’ll be used as a substitute for Rich Simple Syrup, I wanted it to be nice and dense so I only add enough water to mix a little, judging on how much granulated sugar ls left.

You can use any citrus, grapefruit and oranges seem to be preferred but lemons and limes also work. Now I can’t wait until Blood Oranges are back in season.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 32: Jade Terminus Oxygenée [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Jade Terminus Oxygenée 

Overall Rating: 4.6
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 4.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 5.0
Finish: 4.5
Overall: 4.5

Style: Verte        
ABV: 68%
Country: France       
Distillery: Jade Combier    

Appearance: Beautiful crystal clear green, light peridot with a yellowish bend,
Louche: As with all of the Jades, very dynamic ending in a full, rich louche. Hints of yellow mix with the green as it builds to a barely translucent finish.
Aroma: Room filling as the pour was made, more so than the other Jades it seems. Floral with a hint of powdered sugar. Rich, with that signature Jade luxuriousness.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: As sweet as the Nouvelle Orleans but with the opulence of the Edouard. Creamy and vibrant as it excites the tastebuds. Perfectly balances trinity with some spice and that hint of confection from the aroma.
Finish: The spice lingers the strongest with a significant tingle. Sweet Anise and minty Wormwood hang for a good long time above hints of other herbs.
Overall: This is undoubtable a Jade Absinthe, and to me it kind of coalesces my ideas of what makes each of the others so good. Kind of a grand finale to a brand's product opus.

I was hoping to get a good video of the louche in the Slipstream Absinthe Glass since I knew that this would be a full, dynamic louche. Unfortunately the camera phone kept going in and out of focus (even worse than the last vid) so I was only able to grab a couple of halfway decent stills. It was a shame because it was a sight to see in the Slipstream. I may have to up my game and dig out a real camera instead of just these half-assed camera phone pics.

Some interesting information on the "Oxygenée" style of Absinthe:

From "Jade Terminus is an homage to one of the best absinthes of the Belle Epoque: Cusenier Oxygenée. The Cusenier distillery created this absinthe in reponse to claims that absinthe was dangerous, and claimed that their proprietary oxygenation process left the absinthe free of any potentially deleterious properties. We now know that absinthe is only as harmful as any other alcoholic drink, however this unique oxygenation process lent a unique character to the absinthe, so to make Jade Terminus Oxygenee Ted Breaux decided to use a hot oxygenation process closely mirroring the original technique."

From Alandia "This treatment was advertised as being “Hygiénique”, because drinking a glass of this Absinthe would not extract oxygen from the blood but rather add oxygen to it, which would have a healing effect on the nerve system, circulation and lungs… In a way, this new production method was a reaction to several scientists and scholars proclaiming that alcohol, and absinthe above all – the scapegoat of the French wine industry –  was very dangerous to consumers’ health."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Week 31: Jade PF 1901 [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Jade PF 1901

Overall Rating: 4.7
Appearance: 5.0
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 4.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 5.0
Finish: 4.5
Overall: 4.5

Style: Verte        
ABV: 68%
Country: France       
Distillery: Jade Combier    

Appearance: Stunning jewel-like peridot, Bright and lustrous.
Louche: Full, thick rolling clouds build to a heavy opalescent green. Very dynamic.
Aroma: Fresh Anise up front with the rest of the trinity following nicely with a minty tail. Similar after louche but more subdued.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: That same luxurious herbal blend from the Edouard is here but without any burn. Sweeter but not quite as sweet as the Nouvelle Orleans if I remember correctly. Very well balanced with just a bit of Anise forward. This is really everything you could ever want in an Absinthe.
Finish: There is a bit of a minty aftertaste that hangs just behind the other lingering herbs. The pleasant but slight numbing is definitely the Anise as this is a smooth sip at any dilution.
Overall: This is as I imagine what would be traditionally considered a quality Absinthe by pre-ban standards. It has a level of beautiful complexity that puts it at the top of it's class.

I've seen quite a few different labels for the Jade 1901 and I know different regions have different
labels. I think I actually bought the black labeled bottle thinking it was a different Absinthe but as far as I know, it's the same recipe. Haven't cracked open the second bottle to do a side by side though.

Whenever I think of it I still feel that Nouvelle Orleans is my favorite Jade but I can't deny that PF 1901 is probably their best made Absinthe. That being said, I don't think this sequential tasting of each Jade will finally cure me of saying that the best Jade there is is whatever the last one I had. They're all the best of the best and they all have an underlying commonality that make them instantly recognizable as Jade. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: Pazuzu

1 1/2 oz Kraken Rum
3/4 oz Jagermeister
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
St. George Absinthe Wash

Shake everything with ice and strain into an Absinthe washed Collins glass (or Tiki mug?) filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a straw.

This is a drink I started to put together for no really good reason whatsoever other than all of the liquids (aside from the Pineapple juice) were dark and I was trying to come up with something else. But against all logic and sanity, these ingredients actually started to work. I really want to follow through with more uses for Jagermeister as it really is a wonderfully complex liqueur.

I ended up using a different idea for what I originally threw these things together for but I wanted to pursue this more, to make something very different. It;s not there quite yet, but it’s coming along nicely. I figured that this odd combination should be called Pazuzu, named after everyone’s favorite house demon of old. An original anti hero who may have not been a really nice guy, but he protected you, your home and your loved ones from those much worse than he.

This drink starts with a rum and pineapple sweetness but quickly comes back at you with a lovely herbal bitterness. I’m trying to figure out what ratios I need to change to develop it more, do I want it sweeter, less sweet, more kick… well, it really has a lot of kick already. The hardest part of this though is doing an Absinthe wash in a fucking Collins glass. Maybe I’ll just add a quarter ounce to the mix and call it good.

Week 30: Jade Espirit Edouard [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Jade Espirit Edouard

Overall Rating: 4.5
Appearance: 5.0
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 4.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 4.5
Finish: 4.5
Overall: 4.5

Style: Verte        
ABV: 72%
Country: France       
Distillery: Jade Combier    

Appearance: A striking bright, lustrous gem green.
Louche: Thick with heavy oil trails that build to a full, opalescent green.
Aroma: There is a significant burn behind an otherwise well blended balance of the holy trinity. Less perfume than some other Jades but quite luxurious. After louche that burn goes away and  you're left with that luxurious blend of botanicals.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Beautifully complex but perfectly balanced. At 3:1 with water you still get a bit of burn and numbing and considering its 144 proof, I find it perfectly acceptable. At 4:1 it completely mellows out and while I don't normally dilute so much, I do have to admit that the herbs open up considerably. Like the other Jades, it has an extremely silky texture and complex flavors that dance all over the tongue.
Finish: Significant numbing and an aftertaste that is just as complex as the flavor itself which lingers for a good long time.
Overall: Less sweet than Nouvelle Orleans which ends with a pleasantly bitterness. Again, as with other Jades it has that deep one murkiness that hints at images of drinking in R'lyeh, waiting to awaken.

Espirit Edouard is another grand example of the skill and mastery of the Jade brand. The Jade line can be a bit pricey but they are all quite gorgeous Absinthes and well worth the expense.

I'm way behind on the reviews but if I cover one per day over the weekend I'll catch up. Since I'd be doing 3, I figured I'd do the 3 Jades I had left to do all in a row. I've been meaning to contrast and compare them all at some point anyway. Every time I drink one I instantly sense that singularly recognizable Jade characteristic but I never really though much about their differences.