Archive for February 2011

Grub With Us

Through the Liquor Glass is excited to collaborate on some meals with Chicago's new social dining website Grub With Us.  Meet new people and build friendships over an all-inclusive family style meal at some of Chicago's favorite BYOB restaurants, as well as sample some delicious cocktails and learn a few tips for making your own.   This has been a long time in the making and we are happy to announce we have finally set some dates!

Please join us on Tues. 3/1/11 at 8:00 PM for an evening of wonderful Mexican food at Los Nepoles in Lincoln Square. They were recently awarded a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin guide. We will be pairing 2 custom cocktails to enjoy with our meal, as well as dishing out some tips and recipes. There are only 12 spaces, so hurry and sign up here!

Please join us on Tues. 3/8/11 at 7:30 for an evening of Vietnamese food at the charming restaurant Simply It in Lincoln Park. We will be pairing 2 custom cocktails to enjoy with our meal, as well as dishing out some tips and recipes. There are only 12 spaces, so hurry and sign up here! We are looking forward to dining and imbibing with you.

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Thank you!

We just wanted to give a quick shout-out to all our friends, family and readers who have supported us for going on two years! It's been really fun and the response has exceeded our expectations. We're really excited for the future (you'll see us doing a lot more events) and thankful to have you along for the ride.

See below for some lovely artwork by our friends.

by Preeti Samraj

Flasks by Shana of In God We Trust and given to us by the lovely ladies of Eskell


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Blackberry Drinking Vinegar

Inspired by a recent trip to Portland (see previous post), I set off to make my own drinking vinegar, also known as a shrub, or in culinary terms a gastrique.

I followed an old NYT recipe from 2008 by Toby Cecchini

Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 quarts, depending on fruit used.

These measurements can be played with quite liberally, as some fruits contain more natural sugars.

2 quarts fruit, use any fruit, pears, figs, raspberries, cherries
1 liter apple-cider vinegar (preferably Bragg) or other vinegar.
1/2 to 1 cup raw sugar
Soda water

1. Rinse the fruit and discard any rot.  Place in a large non-reactive or ceramic pot and mash for several minutes with your hands or a wooden spoon to break up.  Pour in enough vinegar to cover and top with a lid.  Let macerate at room temperature for a week, stirring once a day.  (Do not be alarmed by the smell or the sludge on top).
2.  After a week, stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar and gently boil for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Cool slightly then strain.  (The smell created from boiling is a bit offensive, so open doors and windows.)
3.  Make a test shrub:  cool 3 to 4 tablespoons of the fruit mixture.  Fill a 20-ounce glass with ice.  Add water or soda water to almost the rim, then add the chilled fruit mixture.  Taste to determine sweetness.  If it is too tart, add sugar to the fruit mixture, little by little, while still hot.  Cool fully and funnel into bottles.  Will keep indefinitely in refrigerator.

Well, the shrub was a success!  I am already planning my next batch, which will be Meyer lemon;-).

 A few observations:

Getting the ratio of sugar to vinegar is key in the final process.  When making the blackberry shrub, I used the full cup of sugar because the blackberries were not as sweet as they could have been.
When I boiled the vinegar with the sugar, it reduced quite a bit, and I lost a lot of liquid.  I think when I make my next batch I will simmer it on a lower temp.

When using dark fruit such as blackberries, you may wish to use gloves as the juice tends to stain.  I had splattering issues when straining pulp in cheesecloth and my hands took on a purple tint.

At first the smell of vinegar did not bother me.  It was only after I had boiled and bottled the shrub that I noticed my apartment took on a vinegar smell.   I recommend you remove any cheesecloth, pulp or remnants of shrub to outside garbage right away.

Finally, I used organic cider vinegar from Trader Joe's which came in nice small glass bottles.  I soaked these and peeled off the label.  They are perfect for bottling the final shrub, especially for gifts.

choc tee ka and choc tee khap!

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Aquarius: Harmony and Understanding

We worked hard to get the balance and harmony right in this drink. When you try it, we think you'll understand. Ha.

The Aquarius
2 oz gin
3/4 oz pine orange blossom syrup
3/4 oz lime

Shake above on ice and strain into a coupe glass. You may also serve on ice in a collins glass and top with a bit of soda.

Notes: We served this drink as a punch using dry ice and it was a big hit. See some pictures here. The dry ice releases carbon, which carbonates the drink. We also added equal parts water (equal to the lime and syrup) to dilute the cocktail to party strength.

For the pine extract, be careful. It's intense. Even one drop will blow out a drink, or two or three. That's why it's important to add it to a syrup. With the proportions above, the syrup makes about 15 drinks per two drops of pine.

If you're wondering where we found it, we had our dear friend Boris send us some from Napa. He's an amazing pastry chef. If you're ever in the neighborhood, you can visit him here. There's an online source for what we used here or a fancy version here.

For a dry ice source in Chicago, we used Polar Ice in Pilsen.

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Spicy Bon Bon

Finally, we have for you the printable pictogram of the Spicy Bon Bon (aka El Bon Bon, the Red Room, the St. Valentine... we kicked around a lot of names). We urge you to try this drink because it's definitely a fruit-bomb crowd-pleaser.

Spicy Bon Bon

two parts Vanilla Vodka
one part Cherry Berry Syrup
one part Lemon Juice

Shake above on ice and strain into a collins glass with ice. Top with a little soda water and garnish with a cocoa cayenne rim.

Notes: When you're dealing with fresh ingredients the intensity will always change - i.e. berries might be sweeter, lemons tarter, spices more intense so it's good to test different proportions.

If you have the time, do the cocoa cayenne rim instead of the sprinkle on top. When we tested the sprinkle, a lot of our guests got cayenne up the nose which may or may not be a pleasant experience.

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Drinking Thailand

After years of hearing about the infamous Thai restaurant Pok Pok in my home town Portland, Or.'s S.E. side, I finally made it! I am happy to say, it totally lived up to all the hype. The restaurant was on a 45 minute wait by the time we made it to the hostess stand, so we bounced across the street to their neighborhood bar, the Whiskey Soda Lounge to start the evening out with a cocktail.

I sampled the salted plum vodka collins, topped with a delicious candied amarino cherry. The salted plum was muddled into the cocktail and made for a refreshingly salty sour mix, with yummy bits of plum to chew on, adding some sweetness. My friend tried a few of their house made drinking vinegars (alcohol free). The first was flavored with meyer lemon, followed by one made with honey. They were both equally refreshing and delicious, and would be great with or without alcohol.

The bartender let us know when our table was ready, and we headed back across the street. The food was just as delicious as the drinks. To calm those spicy bites, I recommend trying one of their Thai iced coffees.

My next post will be on drinking vinegars, shrubs, and I will attempt to make my own blackberry drinking vinegar, and share a recipe. Until then... feast your eyes on our fancy feast. We had the Kaeng Som Thaleh, a spicy-sour tamarind curry soup with seafood; Yam Samun Phrai, a Northern Thai herbal salad, and finally, Sii Khrong Muu Yaang, Thai baby back ribs.

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Icy-Cool Eskell

We're excited to be a part of tomorrow's event at Eskell. On Friday, February 11th from 4-8PM Shana of In God We Trust will be at Eskell doing custom engraving on her jewelry, flasks and lighters ... just in time for Valentine's Day.

I'll be there for the tail-end of the party, but our self-serve punches will be there for the duration. We'll have a variation of the Bon Bon that we did for Labrabbit cuz it's so darn good we want everyone to try it. We'll also be doing a white sangria with mint syrup and frozen fruit for all our wine-loving ladies.

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Thank you all for coming

Thank you all for coming out to our event at Labrabbit Optics last night, we had a blast!  The theme for the evening was red and white, as seen in the art by Young Joon Kwak.  For our inspiration, we decided to use fire and ice.  For our red drink, El Bon Bon, we used vanilla vodka, cherry berry simple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon, cocoa and cayenne as our fire.  For our white drink, the Aquarius, we used gin, pine simple syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice, orange flower water and served it in a punch bowl over dry ice.  We will be posting our recipes soon.

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