Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Squashed Sour

Hooray for judicious experimentation.

1 1/2 oz aquavit (try the North Shore if you can, it's awesome)
1/2 oz vodka (for weight)
1 oz squash syrup (yes, homemade - it's relatively easy*)
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 egg white

Shake well and strain into an old-fashioned over fresh rocks.  This is a surprisingly refreshing drink, slightly savory and vegetal yet snappy, with a creamy texture.  Again, hooray for experimentation.

*Slice a butternut, acorn, or kombucha squash in half, scoop out the seeds/goo, and place cut side up in a pan.  Roast in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes, then let cool and cut away from the skin into 1/2 inch cubes (more or less).  Place 3 cups sugar (light and natural is good) and 2 cups water in a pan and bring to a simmer, then pour over the squash cubes in a large heatproof vessel.  Toss in 5 cloves, 5 decently-sized coins of freshly sliced ginger, and 1 cinnamon stick, stir, and let stand for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  Strain well, bottle, and refrigerate; this will make about a liter of syrup.  For longer preservation, dash in 1-2 oz of 151-proof spirits.

Okay, so it's not exactly easy.  But it is tasty and oddly versatile.  For a pleasing non-alcoholic variation, try one part syrup to two parts orange juice and three parts soda water.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Shotgun Wedding

I seriously appreciate the Honeymoon Cocktail.  Here is a riff on that delight, cobbled together from ingredients at hand.

2 oz bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz orange juice
3 dashes Fee's Peach Bitters

Shake and strain over fresh rocks in an old-fashioned glass.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Collins Variations

Three cheers for the classic long drink: the Collins!  One of my favorites, especially for lazy weekend afternoons.  Here are two straightforward riffs on the basic recipe:

San Domingo Collins
2 oz gold rum (I used an El Dorado 5 Year Demerara, but Barbados 5 Year would be even better)
1 oz pineapple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lime

Pour into a tall glass filled with ice and stir generously.  Fill with soda water, give another good stir, and sip.

Picard Collins
2 oz London Dry gin (Boodles, of course)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1 dash rich simple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Same procedure as the previous recipe.

Yes, the second is named after Jean-Luc, hence revealing my nerd heritage.  As a kid, I used to love ST:TNG; as an adult, I've found it wonderful that Patrick Steward (as stalwart an English actor as could be) played a Frenchman for seven seasons.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Peacoat

Invented on a whim, surprisingly delicious!  What more can you ask for?

1 oz London Dry gin (again, the lovely Boodles)
1/2 oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1/2 oz chai-infused red vermouth (this one, you must make... I like the recipe from Speakeasy)
1/2 oz Tuaca
1 oz Prometheus Springs Spicy Pear Elixir (I found this at my local co-op... yum)
1 dash demerara simple syrup
1 dash orange bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with an orange wheel.

Spices from all over the spectrum in this one, from the bright juniper notes of gin to dark cardamom and black pepper.  Just the right amount of sweetness and a touch of lingering spice.  I would be proud to serve this anywhere I go.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Gondolier

Just in case I'm not procrastinating enough, here's an after-dinner cocktail recipe that came in a little booklet around the neck of my new bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur.  You could make it with another brand, but why would you buy anything other than Luxardo?

Please note that I'm in no way sponsored by or affiliated with the fine folks at Luxardo (though I certainly wouldn't mind an offer...)

2 oz scotch whiskey (no need to waste a single malt here, I used JW Black)
1 oz maraschino liqueur

Pour over rocks in an old-fashioned glass and stir.  Yes, it's that simple.  Add a maraschino cherry if you must garnish.

I didn't expect these two ingredients to get along as well as they do.  The mixture reminds me of Drambuie - mellow, honeyish sweetness; faint spiciness; smoky, scotch-y depth; and a distinct anisette note thanks to the Luxardo (yet another reason to use the right brand).

Also, note that the spelling of scotch "whisky" is a silly modern invention that I refuse to follow.  Live with it.

The First Frost

Okay, so the first frost of the season happened a little while ago (at least where I live) but this drink was conceived in the spirit of cleaning out the garden.  In this case, the "garden" is my collection of one-off infusions.  It's an odd one, I warn you.

3/4 oz rosemary-infused vodka
3/4 oz butternut squash-bourbon liqueur
3/4 oz Tuaca
1/4 oz lime juice
1 dash Fee's Aromatic bitters (optional, but nice)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, then garnish with a lime wheel.

Yes, there is a lot here that you have to make at home.  I'm no retailer, but there are approximately zero squash-infused liqueurs on the market.  We'll get into such things at a later date.  To me, this drink is entirely worth the effort, with a bizarre balance between the sharp rosemary flavor and the nutty, buttery squash liqueur mediated by Tuaca's rounded vanilla thing.  The lime juice is just here to keep things from cloying, tone it up or down per your preference.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Red-Eye

Here's a variation on one of my favorite classic cocktails, the Aviation, with an appropriate color adjustment.  Time to break out some very precise measurements:

1 1/2 oz London dry gin (I used the wonderful Boodles, which first got me hooked on gin)
2/3 oz maraschino liqueur (always Luxardo)
1/4 oz Campari (or Aperol)
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz orange juice (just to round the acidity off a little)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, then garnish with a maraschino cherry dropped right into the center.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Back in business

Aaaannnd we're back.  I guess I could apologize for a month's absence, but nobody's really reading so why bother?  It's been a busy month, let's say no more about it.