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Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category

Cocktail Hour: 1878 Gin Crusta

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 20, 2016

Bols Genever is based upon a recipe which Lucas Bols introduced in 1820. The spirit is produced from malt wine distillate which is made from long-fermented rye, corn, and wheat which is triple-distilled in copper pot stills. This malt wine, is then infused with a carefully selected distillate of botanicals and brought to 42% alcohol by volume. The manner in which this spirit is produced pre-dates the advent of the Coffey still, and as such it represents a very early style of gin.

It occurred to me that Bols Genever may be the ideal spirit for me to explore early gin cocktails from the nineteenth century. To that end, I have reconstructed an early Gin Crusta recipe from that era which is found in the Bartending Manual written by Leo Engels, (American and Other Drinks) and published in 1878.

1878 Gin CrustaThe formulation provided by Engels is rather hard to follow because it bases its construction upon another early recipe,  the Fancy Cocktail, which in turn bases its construction upon a more generic serving which Engels simply calls the Gin Cocktail. Weaving my way through the tangle of recipes, I have brought forward Leo Engels’ Gin Crusta from 1878. (The cocktail was a favourite of my tasting group at a recent tasting I held where we were comparing both different styles of gin and different gin cocktails.)

1878 Gin Crusta

2 oz  Gin (Bols Genever made with recipe from 1820)
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/8 oz of Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Sugar Syrup
1 or 2 drops of Angostura Bitters
1 or 2 drops Fees Cocktail Bitters
1/3 cup cracked ice
Lemon Spiral (paring from half a lemon)
Lump of Ice

Rim a wine glass with a lemon slice
Dip the glass in powdered sugar
Pare 1/2 a lemon and place the paring inside the wine glass
Place the ingredients in a tumbler and strain into the wine glass
Add a small lump of ice

Enjoy Responsibly!

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 for Bols Genever will publish tomorrow.

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Cocktail Hour: Irish Blessing

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2016

Today is the day of St. Patrick, and in many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or (on St. Patrick’s Day at least) we share by spirit. We wear green; we attend parades; and some of us even drink green beer in what has become more of a secular holiday which celebrates Irish culture, than a religious holiday which celebrates the Patron Saint after which the day was first named.

Irish Blessing SAM_2480And celebrating Irish culture is not a bad thing; it was after all the Irish who first distilled “uisce beatha“, which translates into English as “the water of life“. I could go into a long and detailed etymology,  but suffice it to say that “uisce beatha” is probably very close to the original form of the word which would later become “whiskey”.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day I thought I would share an Irish Whiskey Cocktail of mine. It mixes Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey with Lemon Juice, Curacao, and Mint. It is a smashing libation, best enjoyed with good friends and family (and yes, the pun was intentional).

Irish Blessing

2 oz  Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/3 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
3 Mint Leaves
Ice
Mint Sprig for  Garnish

Muddle the first five ingredients in a mixing glass
Strain into a rocks glass
Add ice-cubes

Garnish with a mint sprig in the glass

Enjoy this cocktail with the following Irish Blessing:

“May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live!”

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

________________________________________________________________________

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!

 

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Cocktail Hour: The Brooklynite

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 2016

The Brooklynite Cocktail comes to us from the Stork Club Bar in Manhattan, New York. (It appears in the 1946 edition of the Stork Club Bar Book.) It is a simple cocktail, basically a daiquiri made with dark Jamaican Rum, lime juice, and honey. At least one source I researched (The Internet Cocktail Database) adds bitters to the recipe.

Brooklynite SAM_2426

Today, I have switched out the dark Jamaican rum for a lighter bodied, but more fully aged column distilled rum from Columbia (Dictador Amber 100 month Aged Rum). I have also used honey syrup rather than straight honey in the recipe. These changes result in a different final cocktail. This is because Jamaican Dark Rum has strong molasses flavours which dominate the original cocktail. The lighter bodied Dictador Rum creates a lighter bodied cocktail and the less sweet honey syrup allows us to enjoy the subtle flavour nuances of the well aged Dictador rum .

Brooklynite

2 oz Dicatador Amber 100 Month Aged Rum
1/2 oz Honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey and hot water)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
dash of Angostura Bitters
ice
Twist of Lime Peel

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

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 Dictador Amber 100 Month Aged Rum will publish tomorrow.

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: The Doctor’s Orders Gimlet

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 11, 2016

The Gimlet is perhaps my favourite gin cocktail. This simple serving though, is not without its share of controversy as over time a growing group of ‘cocktail police’ have insisting that the libation must be made in a particular way in order to properly be called a Gimlet. Any other construction they insist is not a proper Gimlet. At the center of this controversy is a lime cordial called Rose’s Lime, which according to those aforementioned protectors of the cocktail must be used in the bar drink’s construction rather than sweetened lime juice. (My own point of view is that although Rose’s Lime certainly shares a history with the Gimlet, it is not an essential agreement, and may be replaced with alternative lime sweeteners at the bartender’s discretion. I feel we should embrace evolution not stagnation.)

I did a bit of research and found that the controversy over the Gimlet stretches back to at least 1953 when a description found in the Raymond Chandler novel, The Long Goodbye, stated:

“a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else”

The fact that this statement made it into Chandler’s novel indicates that bartenders of the time were already arguing over the proper form of this simple cocktail, and it very well could be that this controversial statement has fueled the  belief amongst some cocktail purists that this is the only construction that should be considered.

However; we can go back in even further in time (all the way to 1928) and find a very different point of view put forward by D.B. Wesson in his book, I’ll never be Cured, where his description of the Gimlet is:

 “gin, a spot of lime, and soda.”

Apparently, in this earlier time in the cocktail’s development, the recipe for the Gimlet was more generic and even included soda as the sweetener. I suspect the popularity of Raymond Chandler as a novelist and screenwriter contributed greatly to the false narrative that a proper Gimlet must be constructed with Rose’s Lime; however, when a recipe formulation exists twenty-five years previously, I think assumptions must be reassessed.

Doctor's Orders Gimlet SAM_2386 The truth is that no definitive starting point for the recipe we call the Gimlet is known for certain. It is also true that almost all bar servings evolve over time as better ingredients are discovered, and newer versions of servings are put forward. Even the word ‘cocktail’ has evolved over time from its beginnings when the term referred to a very specific style of bar drink to the present when it now refers to a large variety of bar drinks.

I say, let the evolution continue!

Here is a wonderful Gimlet recipe which uses both Doctor’s Orders Gin and Shadow in the Lake Vodka in conjunction with fresh sweetened Lime Juice. And yes, even though the serving contains both gin and vodka, and lime juice rather than Rose’s Lime Cordial, I will continue to call this serving a Gimlet!

Doctor’s Orders Gimlet

1 oz Doctor’s Orders Gin
1 oz Shadow in the Lake Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Lime Slice

Add the first four Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a Lime slice
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 Doctor’s Orders Gin will publish tomorrow!

 

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Cocktail Hour: The Paper Lion

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 8, 2016

This genesis of this recipe can be traced all the way back to 1933 when Arthur Tarling created a simple gin recipe which won a cocktail competition in jolly old England (Source: 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, Coronation Edition). The recipe he created, the Red Lion, mixed equal parts gin, orange liqueur, and a combination of lemon and orange juice. In most recipes I have seen, a dollop of grenadine is used as the sweetener which gives the cocktail a pale red hue. Tarling’s recipe has stood the test of time, and it can usually be found in the gin section of most good cocktail books.

Last year, I tweaked the Red Lion Cocktail, changing the ratios slightly and swapping the grenadine for simple syrup. Of course the cocktail lost its pale red colour and the name no longer suited the cocktail. Thus I renamed my tweaked version, The March Lion and published the recipe as part of a gin review at the beginning of March when the real March Lion (the constellation Leo) was beginning to dominate the southeastern sky each evening. (This spring if you are star-gazing, take note of the very bright star just under the March Lion. That bright star is the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, and this spring and summer the gas giant travels with the Lion across the sky.)

Paper Lion SAM_2383This spring I bring you another “Lion” recipe using that same combination of gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice and orange juice. However, this year I wanted to rein in the flavour of the gin without taming the cocktail. In the manner of James Bond, I swapped a portion of the gin for vodka thus retaining the alcohol punch, but bringing the firm gin flavour down a notch. My new construction deserved it own name, and after giving things a little thought, I decided upon the Paper Lion.

(If you are wondering about the James Bond reference, take a little time and research the Vesper Cocktail. In a manner of speaking, I have “Vespered” the Lion.)

The Paper Lion

1 oz Death’s Door Gin
1 oz Death’s Door Vodka
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
ice
Lemon slice for garnish

Add the first six Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange slice

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!

Please note: My gin reviews continue tomorrow with Death’s Door Gin.

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Cocktail Hour: The Dry Gin Martini

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 5, 2016

Spring is just around the corner, and when the weather turns warmer, I begin to think about summertime drinks, and one of those libations which I have began to enjoy more and more is a Classic Martini. Gin is the original Martini spirit and the beginnings of this cocktail form was perhaps initiated as early as 1888 when a recipe for a serving which consisted of half a wine glass of Old Tom Gin, and half a wine glass of Vermouth was published (Johnson, Harry (1888), The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders’ Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style). From that point forward this simple drink slowly underwent an evolution into the present day Gin Martini.

The popularity of this cocktail flourished under Prohibition as its main ingredient, Gin, was very easy for any illicit establishment to produce, and by the time prohibition had ended, the Gin Martini may well have been the most popular bar drink served in North America. And today, the cocktail remains extremely popular, although perhaps it has been eclipsed by its less flavourful cousin, the Vodka Martini (which arrived somewhat later on the scene).

The Gin Martini can be served at varying degrees of dryness depending upon the amount of aromatized wine (usually vermouth) used in its construction. Traditional recipes found in the cocktail guides from the 1920’s usually recommend a ratio of gin to vermouth of 2:1 whereas modern recipes are much drier and contain ratios as low as 10:1 or even served without vermouth at all (which perhaps makes the serving essentially an ice-cold gin with garnish).

Gilpin's Dry MartiniMy recommendation is to use fresh vermouth and experiment until you find the ratio which serves your palate the best. For a nice dry martini I suggest a traditional London Dry Gin such as Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dy Gin. For this particular gin I found a ratio of 5:1 worked well as at this ratio the vermouth and the garnish provide a lovely accent, yet they allow the gin to shine.

For this particular recipe I have chosen a Spanish Olive to garnish the cocktail. The light saltiness which accompanies the Olive works very well with almost every dry gin.

Gin Martini (with Spanish Olive)

2 1/2 oz Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin
1/2 oz Vermouth
ice
Spanish Olive

Add the gin and vermouth into a large mixing glass with ice
Stir for about two minutes until the sides of the glass are very cold
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a Spanish Olive (fresh from the jar)

Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!

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

Note: I have made this point with respect to the Vodka Martini, and it bears repeating with respect to the Gin Martini. Once you open any bottle of vermouth, it is important that you realize that all aromatized wines have a very short shelf life. This is because the wine will begin to oxidize immediately, and after only one short week (even if the bottle is refrigerated) its flavour will have undergone an undesirable change. I strongly suspect that it is experiences with bad vermouth that have led many people to decrease its volume in the classic martini cocktail to almost nothing at all, not understanding that the vinegary component they are tasting is not a normal flavour component of good vermouth. Please use fresh vermouth whenever you are serving cocktails. Your Martinis will be better for it.

My gin binge continues with three more gin reviews in the following week including my review of Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin which will be published tomorrow, Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: The Whiskey Fizz

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 29, 2016

Fizz Cocktails appeared in the late 19th century. They evolved from the more simple ‘Cocktail Sour‘ recipes of the time, and are basically a Sour lengthened with soda. The first known reference to a specific fizz recipe appeared in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomass Bartender’s Guide. This style of cocktail grew in popularity throughout the early part of the 20th century and reached its apex in the 1950’s when the bar drink hopped the ocean and became widely popular in Europe as well. 

Whiskey Fizz SAM_2371More recently, the fizz has begun to wane in popularity as the modern trend towards short cocktails has taken hold. However, if you happen to like tall ‘Rye and Ginger’ servings, do try adding a dollop lemon juice and a touch of sugar syrup. The tall, refreshing bar drink will take you back to the fifties.

Here is a Whiskey Fizz featuring the brash young flavour of Sonoma County Distilling’s, 2nd Chance Wheat Whiskey.

Whiskey Fizz

1 1/2 oz 2nd Chance Wheat Whiskey 
1/2 oz fresh lemon Juice
1/2 tsp sugar syrup
ice

3 oz Ginger Ale
Add the first three ingredients into a mixing glass and stir
Add Ice into a medium-sized rocks glass (8 oz)
Pour the mixed ingredients over ice
Complete with ginger-ale
Stir 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 the 2nd Chance Wheat Whiskey will publish tomorrow!

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Cocktail Hour: Gin and Lime (a quaffable deck drink)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 26, 2016

Some of my favourite bar drinks are what I call ‘deck drinks’. These are libations which we can easily mix with no cocktail shakers, no fancy garnishes, and most importantly of all, no fuss! The simplest of deck drinks combine your favourite spirit with a few cubes of ice and a shot of soda. Rum and Coke, Rye and Ginger, and Vodka and Seven are all examples of the deck drink craft. Sometimes, rather than soda, I will use fresh citrus. A Screwdriver (Vodka and Orange Juice) is a good example of a citrus based deck drink.

Gin and Lime SAM_2357During my recent Gin Binge, I encountered Prairie Organic Gin, and I was struck by its subdued, relaxed flavour profile. It seemed an ideal spirit for an enjoyable deck drink. A bit of Lime Juice, a touch of Sugar Syrup, a dollop of Gin (and lots of Ice) and I was done. I suppose the proper name for this libation is the Gin Fix, but I just call it Gin and Lime.

(Perhaps it is just a hair more complicated than the average deck drink, but the results are certainly quaffable!)

Gin and Lime (Gin Fix)

2 oz Prairie Organic Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice

Pour the lime and sugar syrup into a suitable glass
Add Ice
Pour in a dollop of Prairie Organic Gin
Stir and 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 Prairie Organic Gin publishes tomorrow.

 

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Cocktail Hour: The Sentimental Lady

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2016

When I began to explore mixed drinks in a more serious way, my wife purchased a large cocktail book, 1001 Cocktails (Alex Barker compiler) for me to draw inspiration from. I poured over the recipes seeing which ones I might like, and more importantly, which of those that I could also make at home with my small collection of ingredients. To my dismay, most of the recipes called for strange liqueurs, and ingredients which I knew very little of, and many of these ingredients seemed to be used only a few times in the entire book. I certainly was not going to run out and purchase them for the sake of one or two cocktails which I might not even enjoy.

This experience influenced me greatly, and if you pour through my recipes (here) you will find that a common theme to almost all of them is that the home bartender does not need to purchase fancy ingredients which they will have no further use for after enjoying their bar drink.

Having said that, Alex Barker’s compilation of recipes was not without merit for the home bartender. Here and there, (in almost every drink category) were a few recipes I could actually make with my meager bar selection. When I was studying the gin recipes Alex provided I noticed he had several recipes for ‘Lady’ cocktails:  The Lady, The Green Lady, The Fair Lady … you get the idea. His recipe for The White Lady caught my eye. It was a simple recipe mixing Gin with Lemon Juice and Triple Sec. I mixed one, decided it was too tart, so I added enough sugar syrup to suit my taste, and named my tweaked creation Lady of the Empire. It was my first ‘Lady’ Cocktail.

Sentimental Lady SAM_2352Recently when I was playing with Poli Marconi 46 Gin, I fell into the idea of constructing a Margarita Style cocktail using gin rather than tequila as the cocktail’s base. I realized suddenly, that I had made another ‘Lady’ cocktail. All that remained was to give my latest construction a name. It just so happened that a particular song by Bob Welch was playing in the background …

The Sentimental Lady

2 oz Poli Marconi 46 Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Lemon Slice

Place the five ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for Garnish

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: Tomorrow I will be publishing my review for the excellent Poli Marconi 46 Gin.

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Cocktail Hour: Grapeshot Martini

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2016

Recently, many new brands of gin have become available in my home Province, Alberta. While many have very traditional juniper forward flavour profiles, there are a growing number which seek to give other flavour elements a stronger role within the spirit. One such brand which I received recently is Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin. In addition to juniper, 29 other botanicals are used within its construction. In addition, this gin is also infused with Riesling Wine.

Grapeshot Martini While examining the spirit, I decided that its character would be well suited to Martini cocktails where the many nuances of flavour within the gin would not be lost. I decided that a Vesper-like cocktail which combined a high quality vodka (Belvedere) with Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin would be an ideal starting point.

The Riesling wine infusion inspired a green grape garnish. I placed the grape in the freezer first such that as it thawed in the cocktail it would be more inclined to release some its flavour to enhance the serving.

The result was quite delicious!

Grapeshot Martini

1 oz Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin
1 oz Belvedere Vodka
1/6 oz Stock Vermouth
Ice
Green Grape

Place a green grape in the freezer 2 hours before serving
Chill your Martini Glass
Slice the semi frozen grape in half and place it in the chilled glass
Add Gin, the Vodka and Vermouth into a metal shaker with lots of ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Double strain into the chilled martini glass

Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!

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

Note my review of Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin will publish tomorrow.

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