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Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category

Cocktail Hour: Bitter Blood and Spice

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 20, 2016

Blood Orange Bitters

Blood Orange Bitters

Making new cocktails is fun, and when I received my sample bottle of Pusser’s Spiced Rum I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to do some experimentation. What I wanted to create was a new bar drink for spiced rum which would perhaps have a stronger ‘cocktail’ appeal than the more typical spiced rum and cola.

I began by doing a little research online, and I came upon a serving called the Cable Car which was created in 1996 at the Starlight Room in San Fransisco by Tony Abou-Ganim. Tony’s recipe (which I will be featuring at a later date) is based upon the Classic Sidecar; however the Cable Car uses spiced rum as the base of the cocktail instead of brandy.

I decided to follow Tony’s lead and began to examine the brandy-based libations in the Cocktails Section of my website looking specifically for a brandy based serving which used ingredients which would also favour spiced rum. The recipe which caught my eye was a bar drink which I had originally found on the website of Cognac producer, Hennessey called Blood Orange Bitters. It mixes Lemon juice and Blood Orange juice with Cognac and Bitters.

Hot Blooded SAM_2525

Bitter Blood and Spice

I liked the idea of using orange and lemon juice in my recipe and adding a dab of bitters would be a great way to top off the serving. So I started experimenting, and I found that the mixed drink tasted the best when I used a combination of both fresh squeezed Navel Orange and fresh Blood Orange. The lemon juice gave the libation just the right amount of tartness, and the added Angostura Bitters seemed to compliment and elevate the spiced rum which was the star of the serving.

Bitter Blood and Spice

2 oz  Pusser’s Spiced Rum
1/2 oz  Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz  Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz  Fresh Squeezed Navel Orange Juice
Dash or two  Angostura bitters
1/4 oz  Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Strip of Orange Peel

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice
Garnish with a strip of Orange Peel

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 Pusser’s Spiced Rum will publish tomorrow, Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: Tequila Punch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 17, 2016

Spiced Rum Punch

Punch Anyone?

Some of the best crowd pleasing mixed drinks are what we traditionally call ‘Punch‘ recipes. These recipes are great for large gatherings as they are easy for the home bartender to create. In fact, a useful formula for creating a flavourful punch can be remembered using this simple poem:

Two of sour (lemon or lime juice)
One of Sweet (Sugar syrup)
Three of Strong (80 proof alcohol)
Four of weak (Water, ice or non-tart juice)

This formula is not only useful for punch recipes; the first three lines are often the basis of cocktail recipes. This is because the ratios noted in the poem do a good job of balancing the flavour between the different sweet and sour ingredients found in most citrus based cocktails.

I wondered about the genesis of the poem and did a little research several years ago and found a comparable poem for Planters Punch from the New York Times in 1908.

PLANTER’S PUNCH
(from the 1908 New York Times)

This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

The difference is subtle; but the older version uses a slightly higher amount of sweet ingredient (sugar syrup). I wonder to myself if perhaps the old bartenders used a weaker ratio of sugar to water in their sugar syrup or if perhaps going back in time people just preferred a sweeter punch recipe. In my experience I prefer the older New York Times formulation which is perhaps because I also use a less sweet sugar syrup (1:1 ratio) than most bartenders do (1:2).

Tequila Punch SAM_2569

Tequila Punch

Although the recipe from the 1908 newspaper is for a Rum Punch, there is no reason Tequila cannot form the base of an equally refreshing summertime punch recipe. With this thought in mind, and with a large amount of poetic license, I created the following Tequila Punch mixing citrus juice and berry flavours and with Espolon Blanco Tequila.

It tastes absolutely delicious.

Tequila Punch

2 oz Lime Juice (two of Sour)
1 oz Raspberry Syrup (one of Sweet)
3 oz Espolon Blanco (three of strong)
1 oz Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail  (the other half of sweet and part of the weak)
2 oz Orange Juice  (part of the weak)
ice (with orange juice and cranberry cocktail we have four parts of weak )
Frozen Raspberries

Build in a large Tumbler with Ice
Stir to Mix
Garnish with Frozen Raspberries
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 Epsolon Blanco Tequila will publish tomorrow.

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Cocktail Hour: The Picador

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 14, 2016

Today’s featured cocktail is another classic which can be found in W.J. Tarling’s, 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, the Picador. What makes the Picador particularly interesting is that it represents an earlier form of the quintessential Tequila serving, the Margarita. In fact, if cocktails were dinosaurs, the Picador after it was rediscovered, might have began to replace the Margarita on cocktail menus and mixology books much the same way that the Apatosaurus began to replace the Brontosaurus in paleontology journals and science textbooks. (If you are curious just google “Apatosaurus vs Brontosaurus“.)

Picador SAM_2543Cocktails are not dinosaurs however, and the Margarita has never shown any sign of disappearing. And in fact, the two cocktails are different enough that perhaps there is room for both on the Cocktail Menu. The first difference is that Margaritas are almost always made with lime juice, whereas the Picador can be made with either lemon or lime juice (or even both). The second difference is that the Margarita is meant to be served in a salt rimmed glass. The Picador (at least in its original form) is served sans salt. So I say, in much the same way that those aforementioned paleontologists are now finally saying, there is room for both. Small differences in structure are still differences. If we make the libation with lime and salt rimmed glasses we have made a Margarita. If we serve the bar drink without a salt rim (or made with lemon juice) we have made a Picador.

If you are wondering what possible difference this all makes, I just might have an answer. In my experience, I have found that lime juice tends to favour clean, peppery (usually highland) tequila, whereas lemon juice tends to favour earthy agave-rich (usually lowland) tequila. Of course, some highland tequila brands break the mold and have strong earthy flavours, and some lowland tequila brands break the other mold and have a strong peppery side. Its the flavour profile of the tequila, not the region where it is produced, that should be your guide.

And that is the case with Cabresto Silver Tequila. It is a soft earthy highland tequila which just happens to be perfect for a lemon based Picador. (Excuse the umbrella, I was feeling giddy.)

Picador

2 oz Cabresto Silver Tequila
1 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
Ice
Lemon Slice (optional)

Add the three ingredients to your metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Double strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of lemon (optional)

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 for the wonderful Cabresto Silver Tequila will publish tomorrow.

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Cocktail Hour: The Paloma

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2016

Paloma SAM_2517Today’s cocktail is a serving which some claim is the most popular bar drink in Mexico, the Paloma. Because the serving has no ‘official construction’, there seems to be as many variations in the recipe as there are cocktail bloggers who write about it. Most commonly the recipe is stated to be a mixture of Grapefruit Soda (Fresca or Squirt maybe) and Blanco Tequila served in a tall glass with lots of ice. (I sometimes use Koala Brand Cooler (the grapefruit/kiwi/lime combination) and it tastes great as well.)

Nothing, however beats a Paloma made with real grapefruit juice and a dollop of fresh squeezed lime for tartness. Here is my favoured recipe which is perhaps a little heavier on the tequila side than most of the variations I see online (usually 1:3 ration tequila to grapefruit); but my stronger libation tastes great, and on a hot afternoon, it is hard to beat.

Paloma

2 oz Camarena Silver Tequila
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar syrup (1:1)
Ice
Sparkling Water or Soda

Fill a tall tumbler with Ice
Mix the first four ingredients in a mixing glass
Add to the ice filled tumbler
Complete with soda
Garnish with fresh grapefruit if desired
(For best results use fresh chilled ingredients on to be honest the use of a straw is probably not recommended)

Enjoy responsibly on a hot sunny day!

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 Camerena Silver Tequila will publish soon as my descent into Tequila madness begins.

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: Red Sky at Night

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 5, 2016

Today’s serving has its roots in the modern classic, the Cosmopolitan which I introduced in a posting a few months ago (here). The Cosmo (as it is commonly referred to as) is a popular serving which mixes Cranberry and Lime Juices with Vodka and Orange Liqueur. The International Bartender’s Association (IBA) standard formulation calls for Vodka Citron; however most recipes you find in cocktail books and on the internet call for a standard premium vodka rather than the lemon flavoured variety.

Red Sky at Night SAM_2493This recipe omits the vodka altogether and instead substitutes an amber rum. Following my common refrain, the better the spirit, the better the cocktail, I have chosen today to mix the serving with an 8-year-old column distilled rum which has been charcoal filtered to remove most of its colour and to provide a little polish to its flavour profile, the Dictador Claro 100 Month Aged Rum. Because of the lovely reddish hue given to the cocktail by the cranberry juice, I call this libation Red Sky at Night.

Red Sky at Night

2 oz Dictador Claro 100 Month Aged Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Red Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Orange Peel

Add all ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a strip of orange peel
Yumm!

Please remember to drink responsibly, the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits…not more spirits!

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 for the Dictador Claro 100 Month Aged Rum publishes tomorrow.

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Cocktail Hour: Fancy Whiskey Cocktail

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 4, 2016

In the beginning (actually it was in the early to mid 1800s) cocktails were a simple bar drink which were put together using just a base distilled spirit, sugar, water and bitters. In those days a ‘Brandy Cocktail‘ differed from a ‘Whisky Cocktail‘, only in that Brandy was used instead of Whisky as the base spirit. The next evolution came (sometime around 1850) when bartenders began to use liqueurs (typically Orange Curacao or Benedictine) either in conjunction with or sometimes in place of the ‘sugar’ in the recipe. Soon thereafter, a sour fruit garnish was added and the more complicated bar drink was called, a Fancy Cocktail.

Fancy Whiskey CocktailThis recipe is based (loosely) upon the Fancy Whiskey Cocktail presented in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks.

Fancy Whiskey Cocktail

2 1/2 oz Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon
3/8 oz Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Sugar syrup
2 dashes Fees Cocktail bitters
ice
lemon peel or lemon slice

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar
Place the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shakes frosts
Strain into a ‘Fancy’ chilled cocktail glass
Add a slice of Lemon or as I have done a coil of Lemon peel
(The added ice shown in the photograph is entirely optional.)

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

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And of course, here is a link to my review of Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon which I published a few months ago.

Review Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon

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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.

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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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