Friday, June 30, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Mai Tai on National Mai Tai Day

1 oz Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole Vieux
1 oz Appleton Estate Extra Dark Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Lime juice
1/2 oz Orgeat syrup
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Gomme Syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour unstrained into a double Old Fashioned glass or Tiki. Garnish with mint and Lime husk.

June 30th is here and it's National Mai Tai Day. I tried to make this as close to the old Trader Vic version as I could with only a small change or 2. Strangely enough, there are dozens of Mai Tai recipes out there that claim to be the 'Original Trader Vic Mai Tai'. So, I cobbled together this from what I gathered.

Back when I did my short stint as an actual bartender serving drinks to people other than myself for fun and profit, I made a bunch of these and other 'Polynesian' drinks. We used a lot of premade everything and all of these types of drinks always came out say too sickeningly sweet for my taste. I can't say that I make anything like this for myself but it's not because I'd grown sick of them because of overexposure unlike other things from other jobs I've had. I just don't like super-sweet/sour/fruity drinks. This is why I cut back the Lime juice from a full ounce to a half.

I also tried my own Orgeat this time. I've been using a brand that I can't remember the name of because the label fell off the bottle but, after making a Pistachio Orgeat a while back, figured I'd take some advice and make my own for this. I followed this recipe because I liked the article, though scaled back a half.

From Toby Cecchini, T Magazine

Homemade Orgeat Syrup

1.1 pounds blanched or toasted blanched almonds
1.5 pounds sugar (1/2 demerara, 1/2 white)
1 tablespoon orange-flower water
2 teaspoons almond extract.

Combine almonds with 11 ounces of water in a blender and blend briefly until uniformly but roughly chopped. Pour into a nonreactive bowl and add one liter of boiling water. Stir well and let stand for three hours. Line a sieve or chinois with overlapping layers of fine cheesecloth, arranging them in an X pattern and leaving a fair amount trailing over to grab hold of. Pour in the mixture and allow it to filter through, assisting with a wooden spoon if necessary. Fold up the ends of the cheesecloth carefully to trap the pulp in a bag and squeeze out the remaining liquid. (This is important, as the pulp retains a fair amount of emulsion.) Discard cheesecloth and pulp. Place emulsion mixture in a pan, add sugar and heat mildly through (140 degrees or less), stirring until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add orange-flower water and almond extract and funnel into a clean, capped bottle to refrigerate. Optionally you may add 2 or 3 ounces of vodka to the syrup, as a preservative. Yields about 1.6 liters.

Note: The syrup will separate after a short while. Simply shake it up again before using.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Old Lumberjack

2 oz Pikesville Rye
1/2 oz Maple syrup
2 dashes Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Boker's Bitters

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Express a Lemon over the drink and discard.

Really just a Maple Manhattan made with a nice, hearty Rye. Sometimes it's just the simple things...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Corvus Infernum

2 oz Pikesville Rye
1/2 oz Bénédictine
1/4 oz Sevil Absinthe
1 (light) bsp Campari
1 ds Elixir de la Grande-Chartreuse

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a flamed Orange peel.

This is sort of based on the Dante’s Requiem. I was going to name it after something faust but after taking the pic I decided to name it after my potential new brand after Mindless Heron amy or may not go away.

My initial version used a full 1/4 oz of campari and 2 dashes of Elixir de la Grande-Chartreuse which i feel really didn't compliment each other well. Cutting them both back really did work much better though the mix could still use some tweaking. The sensuous Sevil Absinthe was a good choice but the Pikesville Rye may have been a bit overbearing. I may suggest stepping down just a little to a Rittenhouse.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mythos Absinthe Cocktail: Zaman's Hill on the Summer Solstice, F'tahgn

2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1 1/2 oz Plantation 3 Star Rum
1/2 oz Death's Door Gin
1/2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy
1/2 oz Dogwood Distilling Haint Absinthe

Add everything but the Absinthe to a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into an ice filled Highball or Tiki, especially if you have the Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug, and carefully float the Absinthe on top. Garnish with an Orange wheel and a sprig of Mint.

And over Zaman’s Hill the horn
Of a malignant moon was born,
To light the weeds and vines that grew
On ruined walls I never knew.
The fox-fire glowed in field and bog,
And unknown waters spewed a fog
Whose curling talons mocked the thought
That I had ever known this spot.
Too well I saw from the mad scene
That my loved past had never been—
            Zaman's Hill - H.P. Lovecraft

Happy Solstice/Midsummer. I figured that such a day deserved a Tiki cocktail as it is the Summer and the year's longest day. So, why name a summer drink on the longest day of the year from a poem of an evening's bleak darkness and horror? Because this drink is based on the Fog Cutter for which this poem relates and I like horror and bleak darkness more than the heat and stark sunlight.

I've been really happy with both the Dogwood Distilling Haint Absinthe and Copper & Kings American Brandy in drinks. I also have the Copper & Kings Absinthe Blanche as well as a few other new Absinthe bottles I haven't even opened yet. I'm sure I'll get to them all at some point but both the Copper & Kings and the Haint both deserve a proper tasting and their own and reviews. I'm really looking forward to making time this weekend for both.

I did mean to make a homemade Orgeat for this but didn't get a chance. I'm really going to try to make an effort to have some made for National Mai Tai day on the 30th. This, and every drink that utilizes Orgeat, really benefits from a good homemade one. The Pistachio Orgeat I made for National Pistachio Day turned out great.

I also wanted to order this special Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug from Horror in Clay when I planned this drink based on the Fogcutter. I was bummed that I found it long after any chance of having it delivered in time only to realize that I had already sleep-shopped a previous edition of this very Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug in green. It was nestled in with my Cthulhu Tiki mugs, also from Horror in Clay. Sometimes insomnia makes everything a surprise and, yeah, I ordered the purple one too.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Naked Martini on National Martini Day

3 1/2 oz London No. 1 Gin
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 dash Hella Bitters Orange

Place all ingredients in the freezer for several hours, including the Martini Glass. Once completely chilled measure liquids into the Chilled glass and garnish with a Lemon twist.

When trying to decide what form of Martini I wanted to make for National Martini Day, Classic, Dry,  SweetPerfect, Dirty, 50/50, etc., I settled on a Naked. Unfortunately, when looking up references to how I wanted to put one together, I ended up getting a bit of mixology nerd rage.

I guess I must have taken a much harder line on Martinis in the recent past.  I know that there are wonderful variations to Martinis but it's perplexing to see at all of the  recipes online that call for Vodka in Classic Martinis, at just how many Martini recipes called for shaking them, and at so many "Naked" Martini recipes were just a base spirit (often Vodka again) chilled with ice (often shaken) and dumped into a glass by it's diluted self.

My understanding of what makes a Naked Martini 'naked' was that all of the ingredients were chilled in a freezer ahead of time so you could have a completely undiluted drink that was still as chilled as possible. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I went with. The London No. 1 Gin shined here with its rich citrus flavor undaunted by dilution.

I did reach back to see if I could get away with using Bitters at all and it does seem that Orange or Aromatic Bitters were often used way back when so I happily dashed some Orange. I opted for a Lemon twist over Olives as I never do put Olives in my Martinis. There are plenty of things that I like dirty, but a Martini isn't one of them.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Bluegrass Smash on Father's Day

2 oz Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
2 Lemon quarters
2 Orange quarters
1 Rosemary sprig

Muddle the Lemon, Orange, and Rosemary in a shaker. Add Bourbon, Syrup, and ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with more Lemon and another Rosemary sprig.

Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, especially my own. Not much of a sunset but a Hell of a drink for a Hell of a guy.

While the household Whiskey of choice for the family is usually Jameson, I couldn't resist making this Bluegrass Smash in honor of the man that raised us listening to Bluegrass. It would be bad form to use anything other than a Kentucky Bourbon for such a drink.
I remember going to Bluegrass festivals when I was a kid and meeting all of the musicians with my father. I still have the albums I got signed as a kid back when vinyl was all you got when you were looking for music.

Of course he still goes to all the shows and all of the bands know him by name and are friends with him on Facebook. You can catch him sometimes filling in the DJ spot on Country Corner from WTCC in Springield MA, spinning Olde Time Country and Bluegrass on Saturday Afternoons.

Once or twice I've been on his show (of the show he filled in for at WRSU when we lived in NJ) and have tried to find something interesting and out of the ordinary to play. maybe I'll have to dig up some more of this wonderful culturally appropriated stuff and see if it's worth playing...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Man's Ruin on National Bourbon Day

2 oz Booker's Bourbon
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Gomme Syrup
1 dash Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse
Rinse Butterfly Boston Absinthe

Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned glass with Absinthe, add a rock of ice. Shake remaining ingredients with ice and strain into the Absinthe rinsed glass. Garnish with an expressed Lemon peel.

Today, June 14th, is National Bourbon Day and to celebrate I figured I'd put together something I've been trying to get right for a while. This is based loosely on a drink called Vincent's Ruin that I came across looking for various other Whiskey/Absinthe drinks. The name flickered a memory of another ridiculously hot day...

A few years ago I took the Pretty on a trip to NOLA for her birthday along with her cousin and our good friend Muppet. Despite the heat was probably the best vacation I've ever been on. On our last night my pretty companions and I abandoned Bourbon Street for Frenchman Street once again for our revelry, visiting The Spotted Cat for a second time, pub crawling for a bit, eventually ending up at d.b.a. for some live rockabilly performed by The UnNaturals. At one point the Pretty One directed my attention towards her cousin to observe an aptly placed sign by her head... From then on she was duly nicknamed 'Man's Ruin'.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Negroni Week Day 7: Eeyore's Requiem

1 1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz OMG Gin
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1+ dash Hella Bitters Orange

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Coupe glass. Express the oils from the three orange twists then discard them.

We end Negroni Week with something that is not a Negroni though it's much touted as a drink every Negroni lover should try. It's a phenomenal example of taking things too far to the point that too far seems nice and close... and warmly bitter. There is so many strong flavors vying for your undivided attention yet somehow they end up dancing around in your mouth, spinning around in all of their flamboyant bitterness like the waltzing damned (Hmmm... I may need to save that one for a drink name).

Maybe it's because of the Negroni overload this week, but this particular Eeyore's Requiem turned out really fantastic if I do say so myself. Generally drinks just taste better if someone else prepares them (and there is a bit of science behind that). Maybe it's the Gin since I wouldn't swap out any of the other ingredients. It is a good goddamned Gin.

That's it for Negroni Week. I hope some of you went out and had one, especially at a participating bar. Unlike me, I'm cheap and haven't brought myself to hit up too many places here in town without company.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Negroni week Day 6: Classic Negroni

1 oz Gin Sul
1 oz Campari
1 oz Miró Vermut de Reus

Stir everything with ice and strain over rocks into an Old Fashioned glass. Express an Orange peel over the drink and garnish with a full Orange slice.

Here it is, a regular Negroni. I made a variation over this Negroni Week with a Gin from Bavaria so it seemed like a plan to make this with a Gin made in Hamburg. This Gin has a nice citrus peel edge to it that blends itself well in this mix.

I'm happy to say that this little bottle of Vermouth has made it through Negroni Week with a bit left to spare. It will be nice not having a bottle go sour, not that I wouldn't drink it anyway...

I'm not really happy how these pics are coming out though. I'll have to figure out a better way to take pics, still figuring out the new place I guess.

Sunset Cocktail: Suze Gin & Tonic on World Gin Day

2 oz St. George Botanivore Gin
1 oz Suze
3/4 oz Liber & Co. Spiced Tonic Syrup
Soda Water

Pour Tonic, Gin, and Suze into an ice filled Copa de Balon glass (Or a bulbous red wine glass) Top with soda water, give a little stir and garnish with a Lime wheel.

Today is World Gin Day and what better way to celebrate than a refreshing Gin &Tonic? But wait, you say, aren't we still in the midst of Negroni Week? Why yes we are, but it's fucking hot out and a Gin and Tonic hit the spot. I'll post another goddamned Negroni next.

The drink is earthy and the taste reminds me of the smell of the greenhouse my mother used to tend when I was a kid. The Suze definitely adds that root dimension to an otherwise floral Gin. It's just dry enough to really stave off a heavy thirst while maintaining perfect

I feel like this deserves a more creative name, but haven't thought of one yet. Most of the other Gin &Tonics that add a little something special are just named with that extra ingredient as far as I can tell: St. Germain Gin & Tonic, Blood Orange Gin & Tonic, José's Gin &Tonic... ew...

Friday, June 9, 2017

Negroni Week Day 5: Old Pal

1 1/2 Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whiskey
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth

Stir everything with ice and strain over rocks into an Old Fashioned glass. Express an Lemon peel over the drink and drop it in.

Here is the spicier companion to the Boulevardier, his old pal, the Old Pal. When I made the Boulevardier earlier this Negroni Week the ratio was a bit closer to the Negronis 1:1:1 than this, but, as a variant to a variant, it's still spot on. I do love a good Rye.

Every recipe I see for the Old Pal has it served up in a Cocktail/Coup glass. I put it in an Old Fashioned for consistency with everything else from Negroni Week this week.

I have been drifting along my Whiskey love for some time now. I've followed my nose from the extra-peaty Single Malts through Oaky Bourbons to settle for a while on a Spicy Rye. I'm sure it won't bee too long before my preferences will start sweeping over something else soon as I'm sure I'll come back full circle as time evolves tastes, Brandies are calling me... and Cognacs, and Armagnacs...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sunset Cocktail/Name Your poison Day Bonus: Donatien A. F.

2 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Suze
Rinse La Clandestine Absinthe

Rinse a chilled Coupe glass with Absinthe. Stir remaining ingredients with ice and strain into the Absinthe rinsed glass. Express an flaming Orange peel over top and drop in.

As it is Name Your Poison Day, I figured I should make a new poison and name it. This came about from my new love for Suze and the White Negroni in addition to my love of Absinthe and The Quill. Having so far made both the White Negroni and the Quill during Negroni Week and, as I mentioned then, the Quill is just a Negroni with an Absinthe rinsed glass, it made sense to try this with a White Negroni as well.

I was considering the idea of changing up the ratios to more closely match the 1:1:1 of a standard Negroni/Quill but I loved the way the White Negroni came out as it was that I kept the ratios to 2:1:3/4 and just added the Absinthe rinse (and flaming Orange because who doesn’t love a little well placed fire). I did change out the type of Gin used from what I originally used, but I stayed dry and all of the St. George Gins blend well with Absinthe so I went with their Dry Rye.

While this won't quite fit into my Mythos Absinthe Cocktails, maybe it could get an honorary addition. I’ll be curious to see who can figure out what the name of this drink refers to and why...

Negroni Week Day 4 AND Name Your Poison Day: The Quill

1 oz Death's Door Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Miró Vermut de Reus
Haint Absinthe rinse

Rinse an Old Fashioned Glass with Absinthe. Stir remaining ingredients with ice and strain into the Absinthe rinsed glass. Express an Orange peel over top and drop in.

Name Your poison Day falls smack in the middle of Negroni Week so the poison I'm naming for myself today is The Quill. On paper The Quill is nothing more than a Negroni with an Absinthe wash a-la a Sazerac, but that Absinthe wash enlightens the whole drink. As I was reminded by my fellow Absintheur in his own post yesterday  "To some tastes, a cocktail is much improved by the addition of two or three drops of absinthe." - C. F. Lawlor, The Mixicologist, 1895.

I am again using the Spanish Vermouth that I got this week and switched to Death's Door Gin as I like how Death's Door pairs with Absinthe. That could be from the forward Fennel in Death's Door which doesn't disappoint here. I was ecstatic to try the new bottle of Haint Absinthe from Dogwood Distilling that arrived yesterday though I haven't had a chance to try it on its own yet. It works very well here, adding just the right aroma and added edge that a Quill should have and I look forward to a proper tasting of it this weekend.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Negroni Week Day 3: White Negroni

2 oz Lucky HANS Bavarian Dry Gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Suze

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Express a Lemon peel over top and drop it in as a garnish.

The White Negroni may be the least Negroni Negroni variant I make in this years Negroni Week. There is no Campari or Vermouth and the ratios are way off, but, for the love of Hell, it's a nice, nice drink.

For this I knew that I wanted a dry Gin so I went with Lucky HANS, which I knew to be nice and dry with a hint of fruitiness. I think it all worked very well and I feel like this process ticked me up a notch on my personal Gin game.

I picked up the Suze yesterday when I grabbed some Vermouth. I've seen it pop up in a couple of cocktail recipes but never tried it before. Suze is a French apéritif made with Gentian that's refreshing and bitter, though not quite Campari or Cynar bitter, but also had a nice citrus to it. It compliments the Lillet well. I also imagine that it would work well with Absinthe though I couldn't find too many that use both together. It will be fun to experiment...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Negroni Week Day 2: Boulevardier

1 1/2 oz Burnside Oregon Oaked Bourbon
1 oz Miró Vermut de Reus
1 oz Campari

Stir everything with ice and strain over rocks into an Old Fashioned glass. Express an Orange peel over the drink and garnish with a full Orange slice (trust me, it's really nice to do both).

You can't have Negroni Week without having a Boulevardier. This classic swaps the Gin for Bourbon and brings a whole different flavor profile. I do actually like this over a regular Negroni but perhaps it's because of the greater familiarity and appreciation I have with Bourbon over Gin.

I see the Boulevardier served in either Cocktail or Old fashioned glasses online and I think I've even had them served to me in either glass on the few times I've ordered them. I went with the Old Fashioned Glass here to keep with the consistency of yesterdays post and that every Negroni I've ever had has been served on the rocks. There is also the fact that I just like my bitter drinks to stay as cold as possible.

I do like how most of the ratios I see on line give the amount of Bourbon a little edge as opposed to the most common 1:1:1 ratio of most Negroni recipes. It seems to give the Bourbon a chance to poke through the sweet and bitterness of the Vermouth and Campari that Gin would seem to do with its citrus and botanicals.

As mentioned yesterday, I did need to get a nice Sweet Vermouth for the rest of the week. When I stopped by the store today I was looking to get something other than Dolin, and definitely something I've never tried before. The lovely girl behind the register at Bottles suggested this Spanish Vermouth from Miró which really compliments this Bourbon and Campari well. The bitter is balanced perfectly well and almost adds a nuttiness, but not in every sip. It definitely brings a good dimension to this drink. It's an excellent Vermouth for a nice Negroni and I'm looking forward to finally being able to make a Classic negroni with this later this week. The small size of the bottle should ensure that it won't spoil by the time it goes empty, which might be by the end of this week's drinks.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Negroni Week Day 1: Black Negroni

1 oz Martin Miller's Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Averna Amero
2 dashes Hella Bitters Orange
2 dashes Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters

Stir everything with ice and strain over rocks into an Old Fashioned glass. Garmish with an Orange peel.

Monday, June 5th 2017 is the start of Negroni Week. I was hoping to start the week with a Classic Negroni but it seems I ran out of freaking Sweet Vermouth. So, an Averna variation it is. As mentioned in my posts about Blackened Cocktails, this is one of the drinks that started me on my love for Averna.

Unfortunately I'm really not that savvy with Gin but I did know I wanted a citrusy, dry Gin for this one and this one seemed to fit the bill just fine. I'll probably get a bit more botanical with the Gins as the variations get more... variable.

A standard Negroni doesn't have any bitters but I'm guessing that they're added to help tame the Campari a bit which the Sweet Vermouth would have done if this version called for Sweet Vermouth. Unfortunately, the site that hosted this version seems to be down.

Since the weather continues to be shit, I guess I won't be trying to make any of these for the sunset.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sidecar on National Cognac Day

2 oz Maison Rouge Cognac
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake everything with ice and strain into a sugar rimmed Martini glass.

Today I made a drink I haven't made since Mixology school as it's National Cognac Day and the sidecar is a classic Cognac cocktail. Also, I lack imagination and it was good to find a drink to use up the last of my lemons before they went bad.

The drink is nice if you like sour drinks. The sugared rim of the glass adds just enough sweet without adding any to the drink. I do suggest, for the love of every god, use fresh Lemon juice over bottled, it really makes a difference.

I don't actually know if there is a different classification of drinks that use bottled Lemon juice over fresh like there is with lime (Rickeys use fresh juice while Gimlets use Rose's Lime Juice), but it's worth looking into. Keeping a stock of Lemons can be a pain in the balls. 

There is, yet again, no sunset as the weather has sucked all week. I can't say it was a good week in any sense, but I'll refrain from whining any further. Aaaand vacation is over...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sunset cocktail: Arkham Sunrise

1 1/2 oz Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum
1 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lucid Absinthe
1/4 oz Blood Orange Syrup
2-3 dashes Berg & Hauck’s Jerry Thomas Bitters (top)

Mix first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled Highball glass. Add the Blood Orange Syrup and let it seep to the bottom like a resting Shoggoth. Top with bitters so they crawl down the inside of the glass like the tendrils of an eldritch beast.

Did I not post this before? I’ve had this written up for a while but I guess I never posted it. Maybe I never got a good pic of it before and withheld putting it online. Regardless, I made it just as I originally wrote it up and have pretty much the same complaints.

Most of my Mythos Absinthe Cocktails are based on established classic cocktails so I had need to make a variation of the Tequila Sunrise. I also hadn’t come up with a drink named from Arkham yet and here we have something.

I’m not sure I’m sold on this combination but I will definitely be pursuing the Arkham Sunrise as an addition to the list. As a whole, this was pretty bland but, as a whole, it turned out like I should have expected. I ended up thinking of adding the Blood Orange Syrup well after the fact and didn’t really measure well. I was hoping to avoid using it as I didn’t want to over sweeten it and I wasn’t sure if it would settle like Grenadine does. But it settled well, gave me the color effect I wanted and I do think it was a better choice than the crappy, store bought Grenadine I have on hand (I'll have to make some more again).

I specifically used the Berg & Hauck’s Bitters because, aside from being quite tasty, they’re quite dark and travel well and darkly down the inside of the glass when not mixed. I may cut back on the Solerno next time and maybe add some Luxardo, Chartreuse or something a little more complex just to make it more interesting... and more sinister, it's too happy and bland.

Now, to call it Arkham Sunrise or Arkham Sunset…?