Archive for May 2011

Endless Summer: BBQ's

Coming off the rush of semi-nice weather this Memorial Day, we're inspired. We want to be outside all-day, laying on blankets, under oak trees, talking with our friends and sipping iced cocktails.

And we just happen to have the ultimate BBQ cocktail which we created for CY magazine in the name of summer! We will also be serving this cocktail at Dovetail's 3rd year anniversary Sat. June 4 from 12:00pm-3:00pm. Come help us celebrate.

Summertime CY
1 1/2 gin
3/4 oz fresh lemon
1 oz strawberry-rhubarb simple syrup
fresh mint
soda water
angostura bitters

Muddle 3-4 mint leaves in cocktail shaker. Add gin, lemon, and strawberry-rhubarb simple syrup. Shake and serve over ice in collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with 3 drops bitters and sprig of fresh mint.

Strawberry-rhubarb simple syrup
pint strawberries
3 stalks rhubarb
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

Cut strawberries and rhubarb roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and water. Bring to boil and then simmer gently for 30 min. Cool and strain into tightly sealed container. Should keep in refrigerator for several weeks.

Notes: The fresh mint really is the key to this refreshing cocktail. Muddling the mint before building the cocktail in the shaker will help to release the essential oils and give your drink that extra layer of summer deliciousness.

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Glossary: Pousse-café

The first in a series of posts dedicated to demystifying the vernacular of the studied bartender.

The first word is the pousse-café and was inspired by my trip to Mexico and the tourist bars that cater to a clientele who perhaps favors flourish over flavor.

pousse-café \ˌpüs-(ˌ)ka-ˈfā\ a drink with layers of spirits, juices or other liquids. In french it means coffee-chaser as it was originally intended as a digestif after coffee. To make, a bartender starts with the densest liquid (typically those sweeter and less alcoholic) pouring each spirit individually in the glass using the back of a spoon or the side of the glass.

The patron is then meant to enjoy the drink as it is presented... never stirring.

Now my only questions is what place the pousse-café has in modern mixology. Traditional recipes are very sweet. Is it possible to created one that is balanced or satisfying like the courses of a meal? Could the pousse-café be re-imagined like the fantastic chewing sensation in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?

Willy Wonka: Don't you know what this is?
Violet Beauregarde: By gum, it's gum.
Willy Wonka: Wrong! It's the most amazing, fabulous, sensational gum in the whole world.
Violet Beauregarde: What's so fab about it?
Willy Wonka: This little piece of gum is a three-course dinner.
Mr. Salt: Bull.
Willy Wonka: No, roast beef. But I haven't got it quite right yet.

Stay tuned.

Great list of liquor densities
WSJ Article "Neither Shaken Nor Stirred"
Tons of Recipes

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Thai Classic

Last night we enjoyed another fantastic meal with Grubwithus at Thai Classic in Lakeview. We met some amazing people and enjoyed some great conversation. For the meal we created two cocktails that would compliment the Thai cuisine and this beautiful Chicago weather we are having. 

Our first cocktail, the Thai Tea Cooler is a take on a tea punch. We infused the vodka with Thai Chilis to give it some heat, then mixed in some sweet pineapple syrup and balanced it out with some lime and iced tea. This is a great summer "cooler" as the heat in the vodka should get your blood pumping and aid in turning down that body temp.

Our second drink for the evening was inspired by the classic Cuba Libre, otherwise known as a rum and coke with a lime. Note, there is no Cola in our cocktail! Instead we used Sailor Jerry, a spicy rum with heavy vanilla notes, made a syrup out of tamarind, a popular Asian fruit that has a sweet and sour flavor, added Hum liqueur, which is made from Hibiscus flower, Kaffir lime, Cardamom and ginger, and then balanced the drink out with fresh squeezed lime and topped it with soda water for some fizz.

We are turning these dinners into a monthly. Sign up with our grubwithus group here for updates on future meals. We look forward to dining with you!
Thai Tea Cooler
2 oz Thai chili infused vodka
1 1/2 oz grilled pineapple syrup
1/2 fresh lime
Top with iced earl grey tea

Add vodka, pineapple syrup and lime in shaker, add some basil leaves and shake with ice to bruise basil (This will help to release the essential oils in the basil). Strain into collins glass over ice. Top with iced tea. Garnish with sprig of Thai basil.

Notes: When making the simple syrup we grilled the pineapple to caramelize the sugars. This additional step is optional, but we thought it added a nice richness and depth to the syrup. Also we encourage you to experiment with different chili's, when infusing the vodka. Whatever you are growing in the garden or find at the local market should work great. The chili's we used were grown by Rabbit. Finally, If you are not a fan of Earl Grey, replace it with some of your favorite tea for sipping in the sun.
Thai Libre
2 oz spiced rum
1 oz tamarind syrup
1/2 oz Hum liqueur
1/2 oz lime juice
Top with soda water

Add rum, tamarind syrup, Hum liqueur and lime juice to shaker. Shake and strain in rocks glass over ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime wheel.

Notes: We used a tamarind paste that we found at Whole Foods, it looks like molasses in a tiny jar. Tamarind is commonly used in Mexican, Indian and Thai cuisine and should be easy to find at those specialty food shops in a paste form.

PS...we love this episode of This American Life, where Ira Glass thinks he may have uncovered the original recipe for Coca-Cola.

Posted in , , , , , , | 1 Comment 5 drinking movies

This past Tuesday we had the pleasure to sit in as podcast guests with MattK and Ry the movie guy of CinemaJaw. Check out their podcast as they take on new categories of cinema and give you their latest in movie reviews, top 5 lists and entertaining trivia. Rabbit and I tried to hold our own with these two movie experts as we chatted about our favorite drinking flicks. We had a blast!

Please listen here for the whole podcast. "Spoiler alert" Below, Rabbit and I share our top 5 picks with their appropriate cocktail pairing.

Top 5 picks for Alice

5. Cocktail
Sorry...I had to say it! What could be more relevant than a movie starring Tom Cruise making cocktails in the 80's?! "Coughlin's law: never show surprise, never lose your cool."
Alabama Slammer
1/2 oz amaretto
1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz sloe gin
splash fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 fresh lemon
1/4 simple syrup
Shake and strain into old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an umbrella.

4. Swingers
A great 90's flick about a bunch of guys trying to pick up "beautiful babies" in the LA bar scene. Hmm...not much has changed. "You are so money you don't even know it!"
Scotch on the rocks! Single malt, no blends. Any kind of "Glen"...livet, ...morangie, ...fiddich will do!

3. Casablanca
This classic movie takes place in a nightclub in Morocco owned by ex-patriot Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart. It also stars Ingmar Bergman and is everything that is sexy about cocktails in the 40's. If you haven't seen this movie, should. "Here's looking at you kid"
Champagne cocktail
1 sugar cube
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 oz brandy
Douse sugar cube with bitters at the bottom of flute glass. Add brandy and top with champagne. Garnish with twist.

2. Road House
Hubba hubba...Patrick Swayze plays one of the hottest door guys ever! Sam Elliot also makes an appearance and despite all of the violence, this move has one of the best sex scenes. Meow!
Shot and a beer, AKA Boilermaker

1. Goldfinger
James Bond loved his martinis ice cold! "Shaken, not stirred"
We talk about the difference between shaking and stirring on the podcast;-)
(Correction: on CinemaJaw I mention Casino Royale as my #1. with James Bond's girl Vesper Lynd...which I am sure you all caught. I meant to say Goldfinger, because that is the movie which really stars Sean Connery, and where he orders a martini he names the Vesper, after Vesper Lynd. Oops.)
"Three measures of Gordons (gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'

Top 5 picks for Rabbit

5. Moulin Rouge
For best personification of a liquor... the Absinthe green fairy! Also starring John Leguizamo as the notorious alcoholic, painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Toulouse-Lautrec is said to have created the Tremblement de Terre (the Earthquake) cocktail.
3 parts Absinthe, 3 parts Cognac served in a wine goblet with ice.

4. The Big Lebowski
For best use of cocktail as prop. "Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!"
The White Russian
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
Add to rocks glass with ice and add cream.
Like the Dude, remember, it's ok to open the container of cream at the grocery store to ensure you get the freshest.

3. A Clockwork Orange
For best bar. "There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence."
Aspirin in Milk
Dissolve a quarter aspirin in milk and feel the ultra-violence creep in... umm I mean, ultra-health benefits: Montreal Gazette 9/10/10

2. Jules and Jim
For it's representation of one the best cocktail eras - 1920's Paris. But one of the best scenes is not on cocktails but on wine:

Might I recommend the Bloody Mary, birthed in Harry's New York bar in Paris (opened in 1911). From Harry's bartender Fernand Petiot “I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour.”

1. Barfly
For best drunk, Mickey Rourke as Bukowski's alter-ego Henry Chinaski.
"Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth."
Like Swingers, this is another LA bar-scene film where they drink scotch. I would also suggest a bottle of beer with a few cigarette butts inside.

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The Paris Wife

I wanted to contribute a daiquiri to the cocktail menu at Nightwood.  For those of you who don't know, Hemingway, a daiquiri connoisseur, was notorious for drinking variations of them all over Florida and Cuba during prohibition.  There is a classic and delicious cocktail using maraschino liqueur named for him called the Hemingway daiquiri.

The Hemingway Daiquiri
1 1/2oz light rum
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur

Shake and serve over crushed ice.  This drink may be enjoyed straight up as well.  Garnish with lime wheel.

I wanted to use Amaro Nonino, an Italian digestif, slightly bitter with mellow notes of caramel and baking spices.  Here is a glimpse of our process.  We don't always get the drink right on the first try.  We played around with proportions and tried other bitters such as Cynar, an artichoke liqueur.  We finally settled on a recipe true to the daiquiri, where the lime is very pronounced.  This drink is frothy, bright, spicy and refreshing.  Pucker up!

The Paris Wife
2 oz Mount Gay rum
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 simple syrup
1 egg white
Garnish:  Angostura bitters

Build in cocktail shaker and give a good pre-ice shake (also known as a mime shake), this should help incorporate the egg white. Add scoop of ice and shake in cocktail shaker approximately 1 minute, or until ice emulsifies.  Garnish with a few drops of Angostura bitters.  

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