Archive for January 2011

Punch Drunk Love


I was looking for inspiration for a lovers punch of the sangria variety.  Here are some ideas to get you going.
Amada House White sangria – single 1 Liter batch
2 cups strawberries, raspberries, or fresh cherries sliced in half
6 oz. (3/4 cup) Simple Syrup
6 oz. (3/4 cup) Triple Sec
4 oz. (1/2 cup) Brandy

Macerate fruit pieces in syrup, triple sec and brandy (at least four hours and preferably overnight). Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

1 750 ml bottle dry White wine
4 oz. plain or herbal simple syrup (try basil, mint or thyme)
4 oz. Spanish Brandy
2 oz. Torres Gran Orange liqueur, Cointreau or Combier
Optional garnish – Sprig of fresh herbs if an herbal syrup is used.

Mix wine, simple syrup, brandy and orange liqueur. This is the base wine product for the sangria. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Serving directions:
Ladle 6-8 oz. of fruit and juices into a large pitcher. Fill with base wine product until almost full. Top with 4 oz. of club soda and stir to combine. Ladle a small amount of fruit into ice filled wine glasses. Pour in wine and garnish if desired.

Recipe adapted from Katie Loeb.  
I switched out the stone fruit for red fruit and berries in honor of the "love fest".

Winter white sangria
2 cups raspberries, cherries, or strawberries
1/2 cup superfine of confectionwers sugar
32 ounces apricot nectar or peach, pear, or other nectar chilled
16 ounces plum wine chilled
8 ounces brandy, chilled
Two 750 milliliter bottles sparkling wine, chilled

Add all ingredients but berries and stir well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Remove from refrigerator, add sparkling wine and berries.  Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Nick Mautones' Raising the Bar
I want to play with this recipe and add a pear brandy like Belle de Brillet and maybe some white wine to make it a more full bodied sangria in the spirit of winter.  I will post an updated recipe later.
Until then, try this Brandy Sangaree

Brandy Sangaree
1/2 tsp. white sugar dissolved in a dash of water
2 oz. brandy
Port wine
Crushed ice
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: rocks
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

Combine sugar mixture and brandy in a mixing glass. Fill one-third full of crushed ice, stir well, strain into a small rocks glass and add a dash of port wine. Garnish.

Recipe from Imbibe magazine, adapted from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bon Vivant’s Companion

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Love Lay Sleeping

Below are two versions of the same drink for your Valentine's Day lover.

Love Lay Sleeping (a play on the Clover Club)
2oz Old Tom Ransom Gin
3/4oz Lavender Syrup
3/4oz Lemon Juice
Egg White

Love Lay Sleeping No.2 (a play on the Pisco Sour)
2oz Pisco
3/4oz Lavender Syrup
3/4oz Lemon Juice
Egg White

Shake above on ice for 15 seconds. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with a few drops Angostura bitters. Make the syrup by steeping about a tablespoon of edible lavender into one cup sugar and one cup water. Heat enough to melt sugar, let steep until fragrant and strain.

Note: The egg white from one large or jumbo egg is enough for two drinks.

To make the hearts, just pull a knife or toothpick through the drops of bitters. If you use a dropper, you'll have more control of where the Angostura drops fall.

The name of the drink is based on William Blake's famous poem.

The Garden of Love
I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

P.S. This is just part one of the Love Fest... more ideas and recipes to come.

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Retail Therapy: Overboard Style

In the coldest days of Winter, it's easy to romanticize life at sea. To be free in the salt air? Sounds like heaven. Especially if you've got digs like this:

While there's no replacement for sailing, why not take a home bar and make it ship-shape?

1. Boating Flag Tom Collins Glasses. 2. Vintage copper ice bucket and tongs. 3. Vintage Moscow Mule copper mugs. 4. Gilt's "Raising the Bar' sale - starts 1/26/11. 5. Regatta Etched Old Fashioned Glasses. 6. Set of 29 Vintage Sailing Signal Flags.

Moscow Mule
2oz Vodka
1/2 to 1oz lime juice
4-6oz ginger beer

Stir above ingredients over ice in copper mug. Garnish with lime and mint sprig.

Notes: you'll notice that the Moscow Mule differs from the Dark and Stormy cocktail mainly by subbing in vodka for the rum. It's also different in presentation - while in the Dark and Stormy the rum is poured over the ginger beer to create the dark and stormy effect, the mule is simply served in the copper mug - showing you that affectation is important to most cocktails' lasting popularity.

You may up the ginger flavor and sweetness by making a simple syrup with a four inch piece of sliced ginger, one cup sugar and one cup water. Bring to a simmer, let steep, cool and strain.

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Rabbit to Rabbit

Please join us at our upcoming event at Labrabbit Optical on February, 4 from 6-10PM.

Will you excuse the opportunity I took to post gratuitous rabbit photos?

Labrabbit is in West Town at 1104 N. Ashland. As someone who cherishes her vintage Burberry sunglasses, I'm excited for the one-night-only 30% discount on all sunglasses (they have tons of vintage frames!).

We'll be helping to celebrate the debut of new work by Young Joon Kwak by pouring some thematic custom cocktails. See us in action.

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Flowers in the Snow

Here's a little bit of Spring in Winter... alcoholic in nature.

1. St. Germaine As mentioned in previous posts, a liqueur made from the elderflower. Definitely the most popular flower liqueur. See recipes here and below.

2. Cynar An herbal liqueur, whose primary ingredient is the artichoke. Did you know the artichoke was a flower? See it growing below. Cynar (pronounced Chee-nar) is a bitter liqueur so it's a good sub for Sweet Vermouth. The Swiss like it with orange juice.

3. Orange Flower Water Distilled bitter-orange flowers! Most famously in the Ramos Gin Fizz, but I like it in the Absinthe Suissesse.

Absinthe Suissesse
1 1/2 oz absinthe
1/2 oz orgeat syrup
1 egg white
1 dash orange flower water (optional)
2 oz heavy cream or half-and-half

In cocktail shaker, combine absinthe, orgeat syrup, egg white, orange flower water, and heavy cream or half-and-half. Add ice and shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled highball glass with or without ice from the shaker and serve. From Epicurious

Notes: Don't buy pre-packaged orgeat (pronounce or-zhat). It's artificial. Instead, you can make it here or cheat by making a simple syrup and adding almond extract and a little orange flower water.

4. Chrysanthemum Honey Liqueur Made by our favorite local disterally Koval. I would love to try this in a toddy with Chrysanthemum tea, honey and lemon.

5. Crème de Violette Used in the classic cocktail, Aviation. This liqueur's color gives the cocktail a sky blue color, hence the name. For a change, try this martini:

Flower Power Martini by Simon Difford via Cocktail Chronicles
2 oz Plymouth gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz St. Germaine
1/4 oz Crème de Violette

Stir well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with strip of orange zest.

6. Koval Jasmine Liqueur A very perfumey flower. Traditionally, jasmine is harvested at night when its scent is strongest. This makes a great iced tea. Just brew green jasmine tea, add the liqueur and a simple syrup. Garnish with fresh mint.

7. Lavender Makes a nice simple syrup or use lavender honey. Pairs well with vodka and lemon.

8. Rose Water Extremely intense, so use with caution. Pairs really well with gin. Try our Rose Rickey here.

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the Hansel and Gretel

This is my winter  take on an old fashioned, one of my favorite drinks to play around with.  It was inspired by a gingersnap cookie.  While sipping on one, I couldn't help but think of the Grimm's fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.  

Hansel and Gretel
bar spoon of molasses
1/2 oz allspice dram
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
2oz bourbon
stir and serve over ice
garnish with orange peel

Note:  If you do not have allspice dram or ginger liqueur, you can make your own in a simple syrup.  For small batch add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Season with baking spices such as cloves, star anise, cinnamon, fresh ginger, black peppercorn and vanilla bean.  The more spices, the better.  Simmer over low heat until sugar has dissolved and flavors have been absorbed.  You may want to play around with the new spiced syrup ratio in the cocktail.  I would start with one bar spoon of molasses and 1/2 oz spiced syrup and go from there.

Update: Try adding an eggwhite to this drink.  It helps cut into the viscosity of the molasses.  You may also enjoy this drink on the cocktail menu at Nightwood.

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Shanghai Royale

Is it too late for another champagne cocktail? We hope not because this one is really special and easy. Try this when you have a nice dry champagne.

So it's Hong Kong in "In the Mood for Love" but this cocktail would fit right in.

Shanghai Royal
1 oz pear star anise syrup
Dry champagne

Combine one cup sugar, one cup water with two to three chopped pears and a few star anise. Bring to a simmer, let steep, strain and cool. Add one ounce syrup to champagne glass. Top with dry champagne. Garnish with a star anise.

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We find that freezing temperatures are a great excuse to cozy up by the fire (or the space heater) and indulge in some of the most delicious winter spirits Aprés-ski style.  Here are five classic recipes to warm your bones.

This is a take on a grasshopper adding Pisco, a clear Puruvian liquor, to cut into the sweetness of the cordials.  You can also try vodka.

1 1/2 oz  Creme de Cacao
1 oz Pisco
3/4 oz Creme de Menthe
1oz heavy cream

Shake and strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with fresh mint.  Tip:  Clap the mint between your hands over the drink to release some of its essential oils.  You will smell the difference!

Hot Toddy
Make this drink your own by starting with brandy, whiskey, or rum as your base spirit.  For the sweetening agent try flavored honeys, maple syrups, ginger syrup or sweet liqueurs like Pear brandy and St. Germaine.  Instead of hot water use a flavored tea like a Rooibus.  Finally, you can spice it up with whatever you have on hand; cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, fresh ginger, an orange wedge, or black peppercorns.

2 oz bourbon 
3/4 oz honey
3/4 oz fresh lemon

Build in glass mug or snifter.  Top with hot water and stir.  Garnish with cinnamon stick or two cloves pierced in the rind of a lemon or orange wedge.  Tip:  Light cloves on fire, they should extinguish in a few seconds while lacing your drink with a lovely aroma.

White Russian
2 oz vodka
1 oz Kahlúa
1 oz cream

Layer over ice in rocks glass and get to takin’ ‘er easy.

Irish Coffee
2 oz Irish Whiskey
4-5 oz of your favorite hot coffee
simple syrup to taste
float whipped cream on top
garnish with an espresso bean

Mulled Wine
Like a hot toddy, this is another one that you can really make your own.  Here is a fun recipe I found in the New York Times taken from Pranna in New York.
Time: 5 minutes plus 24 hours to infuse

1 bottle robust red wine, preferably malbec
1/2 cup black raisins, more for garnish
Peel from 1/2 lemon, in strips
5 green cardamom pods, crushed
8 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, more for garnish
6 tablespoons turbinado or Demerara sugar, or to taste
4 ounces cachaça.

In a large glass or plastic container, combine wine, raisins, lemon peel and spices. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let sit for 24 hours. Before serving, place mixture in a heavy saucepan over low heat until warm. Add sugar, and stir till dissolved. Add cachaça and turn off heat. Strain and serve in small cups, garnished with raisins and cinnamon, broken into small sticks.

Yield: 6 to 8 drinks.

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Citrus Heaven

I was down in Florida over the holidays and it was a cocktail makers paradise. So many trees in the neighborhood where I stayed were sagging with tangerines, oranges, Meyer lemons. I couldn't help but help myself to some.

In homage to the season, we made a few drinks that were citrus forward including the classic Corpse Reviver #2 and what I thought was the yang to the Corpse Reviver, an orangey Averna cocktail. Dare I call it the Sleeping Beauty #2?

Corpse Reviver #2 (said to revive even a corpse)
1 oz gin
1 oz Lillet
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz lemon juice
dash of absinthe

Shake on ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Sleeping Beauty #2 (guaranteed sweet dreams)
1 oz gin
1 oz Amaro Averna
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz orange juice
dash of orange bitters

Shake on ice and strain into a couple glass. Garnish with bitters and orange peel.

Notes: you'll notice from the above photo that the drink portions are small. For a cocktail tasting, the trick to being able to try and test several drinks while still maintaining your sense of reason is to make one full drink and then spread it around to the group. Seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it's nice to reinforce the adage.

The Sleeping Beauty is like the innocent, not-so-bright cousin of the Corpse Reviver. It's obviously sweeter and darker, but still has the herbal notes with the Averna (an Italian liqueur with herbs, roots, orange rinds and caramel) and a little counter balance of sweet with the orange bitters. When I make it again, I would like to try this cocktail with a tarter orange to see if it ups the sophistication a bit.

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