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Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category

Cocktail Hour: Mad about Saffron

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 2, 2016

Today I am mixing with Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron Gin. Saffron, for those who do not know is a Middle Eastern spice derived from the stamen of the Crocus Sativa, more commonly known as the Saffron Crocus. This is an ancient spice as written records which describe its use as a botanical were found in the ancient Mesopotamian library of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal (which is dated to the 7th century BC). Pigments which date back to 50,000 BC have also been found with telltale traces of the orange coloured spice.

Mad about Saffron SAM_2505Saffron has a peculiar flavour which is sort of like dry grassy hay with strong floral aromatics. It does in fact remind me (in a very passing kind of way) of insect repellent, and mixing a cocktail with this ingredient was very challenging. I was sent various recipes by the Canadian distributor; but every one of those servings called for other exotic ingredients which I don’t keep in my home bar. I did though, arrive at a recipe construction of my own which I found absolutely delightful.

In this recipe the saffron shines and is complimented beautifully by the bright flavour of lemon.

Mad about Saffron

2 oz Saffron Gin (Gabriel Boudier)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Lemon Twist

Combine ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a twist of Lemon

Please remember the aim is not to drink more it is to drink better!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Tomorrow my Gin Binge ends with my final gin review of the springtime, Gabriel Boudier’s, Saffron Gin.

Of course one ending is another beginning as a little Tequila Madness will follow, Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: the Blinker

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 29, 2016

I happened upon the Blinker Cocktail when I was researching rye whiskey based cocktails to add to my repertoire. A good resource for this research is a website called the Internet Cocktail Database (Cocktaildb) which is run by Ted Haigh (AKA Dr. Cocktail) link here, and that is where I found the Blinker. As a bit of history, the cocktail can be traced back to the 1930s where it is found in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1934 bartending guide, The Official Mixer’s Manual (thanks to Imbibe Magazine for that tidbit of information). Whether Pat Duffy created the recipe himself or drew upon other sources is unknown to me, although it should be pointed out that the Blinker is at its heart a ‘sour’ recipe, and thus it is probably one of many such recipes to have evolved from the simple sour recipes of the late 1800s.

Blinker SAM_2558This particular serving (the Blinker) mixes Rye Whiskey with Grapefruit Juice and uses Grenadine rather than Sugar Syrup as its sweetener. On his website Ted Haigh has a variation he created which substitutes Raspberry Syrup for grenadine, and after trying it, I can vouch for the fact that Ted’s variation is much tastier than the original. 

I would however, like to offer a slightly different tweak, a variation upon the variation if you will. My initial idea was to use Cranberry Syrup rather than Raspberry Syrup. I am not sure why I thought of cranberry syrup, I think that it was a vague notion that cranberry syrup would give the serving a tart earthiness which might be quite appealing. It turned out that cranberry syrup didn’t give me quite the flavour I wanted, so modified my idea and decided to use Cran/Raspberry Syrup instead. This was much better, and thought I would share this idea for the Blinker Cocktail with my readers.

Blinker Cocktail

2 oz Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (fresh squeezed)
1/3 oz Cran-Raspberry Syrup (see recipe here)
Ice
Lemon Peel

Add the first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of lemon peel (optional)

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My review of Bulleit 95 Rye Frontier Whiskey publishes tomorrow.

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: The Secretary General

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2016

Celebration

Celebration

Today’s featured cocktail is based upon the well known Celebration Cocktail which was created by J. W. Fish, (its first appearance in print is in the W. J. Tarling’s, 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book). The Celebration is a wonderful bar drink which combines rum and gin with grapefruit juice in a daiquiri style serving.

Here is the original recipe form:

1/3 daiquiri rum
1/3 grapefruit juice
1/6 groseille syrup (red currant syrup)
1/6 Gin

Shake

Groseille (Red Currant) Syrup which is called for in the recipe is not something many people keep in their bar, and most online recipes I have found for the Celebration suggest replacing the groseille syrup with grenadine. It works quite well, although I would further suggest that if you do use grenadine that you should also use only half the suggested amount otherwise the cocktail becomes too sweet.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Secretary General

The Secretary General

My Secretary General builds upon the Celebration, but incorporates two tweaks which happen to work very well when I mix the cocktail with Appleton Jamaican White Rum. First, I replace the groseille syrup not with grenadine, but with a smaller amount plain Sugar Syrup. Then I add also a dollop of Lime Juice to balance the serving with an added bite of tartness. When selecting an appropriate gin for the serving, I noted that the Appleton White Rum has a firm flavour profile and so I selected a firm piny London Dry Gin (Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry) for the libation such that not only the rum, but also the gin shines through the cocktail.

Here is the final recipe:

The Secretary General

1 1/2 oz Appleton White Rum
3/4 oz  Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin (see review here)
1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)

Combine ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with lime slice

Please remember the aim is not to drink more it is to drink better!

And if  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My review of Appleton White Rum will be published tomorrow, Chimo!

 

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Cocktail Hour: Playing with the Lions

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 23, 2016

I like to experiment, and a recent trip to the grocery store gave me the perfect opportunity. For the first time in months I noticed that Blood Oranges were available again, and for the first time ever, I saw Meyer’s Lemons. Blood Oranges, for those who do not know have red flesh and their juice has a taste that is drier and perhaps more tart than regular navel oranges. The Meyer’s Lemons I bought advertised themselves as lemon’s with a touch more sweetness than an ordinary lemon. I also noticed after I tasted one that it also had an earthy quality which is absent from regular lemons.

G&JSAM_2470Here is a new serving of mine which combines Meyers Lemons and Blood Oranges with the goodness of Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin. The recipe is basically the same as Arthur Tarling’s, Red Lion Cocktail, except that I used the aforementioned citrus in place of regular oranges and lemons. Of course, the new fruit makes the cocktail taste entirely different.

I call the new libation, Playing with the Lions.

Playing with the Lions

1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin
3/4 oz Orange Liqueur (Patron Citron)
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Meyer’s Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
3/8 oz Sugar syrup
ice
Lemon twist

Add the first five Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon zest twist

And of course enjoy responsibly!

If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: my review of Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin publishes tomorrow!

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Cocktail Hour: The Modern Gin Cocktail

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 20, 2016

Leo Engels, published his Bartender’s Guide, American and Other Drinks, in 1878. It is a fascinating glimpse into early mixology at a time when bar drinks and cocktails were just beginning to evolve and spread through North America and Europe. At that time, the word ‘cocktail’ was reserved for a specific serving, which resembles what we call the Old-Fashioned cocktail today. Other bar drinks had their own names, the Crusta, the Smash, and the Julep just to name a few.

Gin Cocktail SAM_2473Nowadays, all of these libations are part of the entire class of mixed drinks called cocktails; but back then, they were each their own serving and the cocktail was its own mixed drink, separate and distinct. How the word ‘cocktail’ evolved to encompass all classes of bar drinks is unknown to me; but if you want to go back in time and build an original ‘cocktail’, Leo Engels’, American and Other Drinks is a great starting place.

Here is a modern version of Leo Engels’ recipe for the Gin Cocktail made with Berkeley Square Gin.

Modern Gin Cocktail

2 oz Berkeley Square Gin
1/8 oz Orange Curacao
Dash of Angostura Bitters
1/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
Orange Peel

Fill the shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add all ingredients and shake well
Strain into a glass

Garnish with a strip of Orange Peel and Enjoy!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My review of Berkeley Square Gin will publish tomorrow, Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: Scotch Whisky Old Fashioned

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2016

In the beginning (actually sometime immediately after distilled spirits began to be produced and consumed for enjoyment) someone, somewhere decided that their Brandy just didn’t taste all that good. (Maybe it was actually Whiskey or Rum, but most of my research indicates that Brandy was the original cocktail spirit so we will go with that for now.) Anyways, someone, somewhere decided that drinking these distilled spirits ought to be just a little easier and a little more enjoyable than it was so that person added a bit water and sugar to the spirit in an attempt to make it just little more affable. In fact, this type of experimentation with distilled spirits probably went on for many years (and in many different places) as there was certainly many more persons who wanted to better enjoy their spirits (and to stop grimacing after every swallow).

At some point, (soon after the turn of the nineteenth century) this idea had coalesced into a recipe of sorts and the first ‘cocktail’ was born. And that is exactly what the serving was called, a cocktail. This early form of the recipe was quite generic; it was basically a mixture of distilled spirit, sugar, water and bitters.

As time went forward, the idea evolved, and if you research the recipes from the mid-nineteenth century you will find that new constructions had come forward which built upon this original. If a bit of fruit and a sweet liqueur was added the cocktail became a ‘Fancy Cocktail’. If a sugar rimmed glass was introduced the serving became a ‘Crusta’, and if mint was muddled into the rest of the ingredients the results were a ‘Smash’.

These new forms of mixed drinks were popular; but at some point, patrons began to yearn for that ‘Old Fashioned’ Cocktail which started it all. All that fancy stuff, the sugar rimmed glass, the slice of fruit, and the muddled mint seemed to some to be too complicated and pretentious. I can imagine frustrated patrons gazing at the complicated mixed drink menu proclaiming, “All I want is an old fashioned Cocktail!”

That original ‘old fashioned’ cocktail never did fully reappear in its original form. By this time ice had replaced water, and the fruit garnish never went completely away. What evolved as the Old Fashioned Cocktail was mixed drink which sat somewhere in between a Fancy Cocktail and the original Cocktail. A strip of citrus zest replaced the fancy slice of fruit, and as indicated, ice was added instead of water (and in some cases a touch of Orange liqueur was added in place or in conjunction with the sugar).

Today the Old Fashioned Cocktail has become the standard-bearer of mixolgy, and it is widely regarded as the first truly Classic Cocktail.

W&M Old Fashioned SAM_2491Today I am mixing an Old Fashioned Cocktail with a special 30 Year Old Single Grain Whisky from independent bottlers, Wilson and Morgan. The point I am making by using such a special whisky is that the Old Fashioned Cocktail in its present form is a libation that is easily elevated by great ingredients. The better the spirit, the better the cocktail; or in this case, the better the Scotch Whisky, the better the Old Fashioned Cocktail.

This is a stunning serving which reaches an entire new level of greatness because of the wonderful whisky which is used in its construction, the 30 Year Old Cameronbridge Single Grain Whisky from Morgan and Wilson.

Scotch Whisky Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz 30 Year Old Cameronbridge Single Grain Whisky
1/2 tsp Sugar syrup
1 dash Dry Orange Curacao
1 dash bitters (Angostura Orange Bitters)
3 large Ice Cubes
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first four ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note my review of the fantastic Morgan and Wilson 30 Year Old Cameronbridge Single Grain Whisky publishes tomorrow, Chimo!

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Captain’s Spiced Hurricane & a Review of the Captain’s 100 Proof

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 14, 2016

The Hurricane is a tiki-style cocktail popularized in the 1940s by New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien. Apparently O’Brien had an overabundance of rum which local alcohol distributors had foisted upon him, and he needed to find a way to sell more of it to make room for other spirits including a few cases of higher priced Scotch and Whiskey. The libation he came up with mixed different styles of rum with passionfruit and citrus juice, and over time it became a local sensation. The drink is still popular in New Orleans where it is served in a Hurricane-style glass which is apparently how the cocktail got its name.

HurricaneRecently, Captain Morgan has been expanding their rum line-up beyond the spiced category, and into the flavoured and white rum categories. To promote the new spirits they send bloggers like me recipes and samples. I decided it was a good time to review more of the Captain’s line-up, and when they sent me their take on the Hurricane, I thought the recipe was interesting and worth sharing too.

Here is Captain Morgan’s take on the classic Hurricane.

Captain’s Spiced Hurricane

3/4 oz. Captain Morgan 100 Proof Spiced Rum
3/4 oz. Captain Morgan White Rum
2 oz. Passion Fruit Juice
1 oz. Orange Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
1/4 oz Grenadine
Ice
Orange slice and cherry for garnish

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Pour into a crushed ice-filled hurricane glass
Garnish with orange and cherry.

Enjoy Responsibly!

If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

And for those interested, my original review (published in 2011) for Captain Morgan’s 100 Proof Spiced Rum can be found here:

Captain Morgan 100 Proof Spiced Rum

” … This rum is smoother than its lower proof sibling even though it carries more of an alcoholic punch. The flavours which I associate with good rum like oak spices which meld into a nice rummy caramel are more apparent in the stronger version of the rum …”

Note: My review for the new Captain Morgan’s White Rum will publish tomorrow.

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: Gin and Tonic #2

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 11, 2016

Gin and Tonic (G&T) has arrived to us all the way from India in the nineteenth century. This was when the British Army supporting the British East India Company was in control of large parts of the sub-continent. At that time quinine was used to treat stomach ailments and tropical diseases such as malaria which were a constant nuisance (and even real medical threat) to the British soldiers stationed there. Quinine is quite bitter, so the medical personnel began to add sugar, lime and finally gin to the medicine in order to make it taste better. (The addition of gin was not surprising as British soldiers in India were given a ration of gin each day to improve morale much like the members of the Royal British Navy who were given their daily tot of rum.) Amazingly, the strange concoction caught on and over a short time evolved into one of the most quintessential summertime libations, the Gin and Tonic.

A standard Gin and Tonic is a tall serving which mixes 1 part of gin with 3 parts of tonic water and is typically served with a lime garnish. It is extremely refreshing and very easy for the home bartender to mix.

Gin and Tonic #2 SAM_2468Many variations on the theme exist, and my favourite is a recipe I stumbled into when I held my Gin and Tonic Challenge in the summer of 2014. In the lead up to my competition, I experimented with various Gin and Tonic recipes and ratios in an effort to determine which construction suited my palate and allowed the gin to shine. The recipe I settled upon uses real lime juice and a cucumber garnish mixing the gin with much less tonic water than the standard serving. This shorter serving remains my favourite G&T construction.

I call it simply, Gin and Tonic #2.

Gin and Tonic #2

1 3/4 oz Dry Gin (Empire Gin is a great choice)
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
2 oz Q-Tonic
Cucumber Chunks

Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Q-Tonic
Garnish with cucumber

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

I should point out that I normally use an extremely dry Tonic Water, Q-Tonic. I like this dry tonic much better than many of the sweeter alternatives, because I like to control the sweetness of the serving, and it is much easier to begin with a very good dry tonic and add sugar syrup to suit my taste, than it is to begin with a tonic water which may be overly sweet already. If you are happier with a different Tonic Water, you will probably have to use much less (if any) sugar syrup.

Note: My review for Empire Gin will publish tomorrow.

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Cocktail Hour: Cucumber Cooler

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 8, 2016

Spring continues to struggle its way forward, and my anticipation for the warmer weather is completely whetted. And when the weather finally turns completely I plan to enjoy myself on my back deck on the weekends with my Rum Chums as we have grill burgers and dogs and combine those good times with a few cocktails and bar drinks. Those who are long time followers of my spirits reviews know that during the lazy days of spring and summer, I am most likely to be to enjoying servings of the long tall variety.

Cucumber Mint Cooler SAM_2485Here is one such tall serving which, if you happen to have a penchant for gin, is just perfect for those back deck barbecues, the Cucumber Cooler.

Cucumber Cooler

2 oz De Kuyper Genièvre
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 slices Cucumber
4 Mint Leaves
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Sparkling Water

Add the Mint, Cucumber, and Lime into a Mixing Glass
Add the Genièvre and muddle until the cucumber is thoroughly crushed
Double strain into a large glass filled with ice
Complete with Sparkling Water

Please enjoy Responsibly

If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: my review for De Kuyper Genièvre will publish tomorrow!

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: Whoa Nellie!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 30, 2016

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for a nice rye-based cocktail I could add to my repertoire. Two things attracted me to the libation which caused me to give it a long look. The first was the combination of rye whiskey and dark rum which is an unusual combination to say the least. The second was the relative simplicity of the serving. So many of the modern cocktails require exotic liqueurs and syrups which, either are not available to the home bartender, or require too much effort to find (or make) for the sake of a single cocktail. This modern creation however uses a mix of ingredients (Rye Whiskey, Dark Rum, Orange liqueur, Lemon Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Bitters and Sugar Syrup) which are all easy for me to work with.

Whoa Nellie SAM_2399

The bar drink was apparently put together by Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin (In the Land of Cocktails) with the assistance of Ted Haigh (Dr. Cocktail) when they were gathered at Lally’s House to celebrate the first Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina. The name is an homage to Lally’s and Ti Adelaide’s grandmother, Nellie Valentine.

Whoa Nellie!

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Sonoma County Rye)
1/2 oz Dark Rum (Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum)
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
1/3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
a few dashes of Bitters (Fees Cocktail Bitters)
1/3 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Grapefruit Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My review for Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum will publish tomorrow, and my review for Sonoma County Rye will publish two days after that.

Chimo!

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