Archive for October 2011

Happy Halloween: Films for Jackrabbits and Scaredy Cats

I'm a lightweight when it comes to horror. I just saw "The Others" (Nicole Kidman, as a mother of two children allergic to sunlight in a big house in the country) and was legitimately scared just about the whole movie.

Below are my lesser-known horror movie picks for the jackrabbits, scaredy cats and cowardly lions like me.

Repulsion, Roman Polanski, 1965

Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock, 1941

The Innocents, Jack Clayton, 1961

And just for fun.... the re-cut trailer for the classic "horror" film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".

Jackrabbit Sidecar
1 1/2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Lemon
1/2 oz Allspice Syrup
1 oz Apple Cider

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and garnish with aromatic or orange bitters.

Make the Allspice Syrup: use one cup water, one cup sugar and a handful of crushed allspice berries. Bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let cool and strain.

Scaredy Cat, Looney Tunes, 1948

I have a friend in Sylvester the Cat: "a yellow dog of a cowardy cat"

Happy Halloween!

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Día de los Muertos


Day of the Dead is a hauntingly beautiful way to remember your loved ones and celebrate rebirth.  Here are some inspired spirits for your ritual.
p.s.  try this website for your Day of the Dead party paraphernalia.

Second Star Margarita
2 oz jalepeño infused mezcal (recipe below)
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 oz couintreau

Shake and serve over ice.  Garnish with a marigold.
The smoke from the mezcal and the spice from the jalepeño make this cocktail perfect for fall.

Jalepeño infused mezcal
1 750ml bottle mezcal
2-4 jalepeno peppers

Slice jalepeños in halves, then quarters lengthwise and remove seeds.  Place peppers in mezcal bottle. Store in dark cool place for 48-60 hours tasting infusion periodically for desired heat.  Strain mezcal through damp cheese cloth and pour infusion back into bottle.

Pumpkin old fashioned 
2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz pumpkin spice simple syrup (recipe below)
Angostura bitters

Stir with ice and strain into chilled rocks glass.  Garnish with brandied cherry.

Pumpkin spice simple syrup
Halve one small pie pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and place pieces, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 until soft. Scoop out roasted pumpkin and simmer in 2 cups water with 2 cups sugar for aprox. 30-40 min.  For flavor variations try adding a combination of orange peel, fresh ginger, vanilla beans, clove, star anise, fresh grated nutmeg or fresh cinnamon. Cool and strain with damp cheese cloth.  Syrup should keep in refrigerator for a few weeks.

Corpse Reviver (No. 2)
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Lillet
1 oz Couintreau
1 oz gin
1 dash Absinthe

Shake and strain into chilled coupe glass.  Garnish with orange peel.
Note:  According to Harry Craddock, 4 in a row will unrevive the corpse again!

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Glossary: Fat Washing

Fat Washing is a method of infusing a spirit with a fat. The goal is to get the flavor of the fat, washing away the actual fat content. Once you learn the simple process, a whole world of flavor possibilities opens and cocktails enter the realm of umami.

Fats from left to right, top to bottom:
1. Hazelnut oil. We're working on fat washing the oil with gin and pairing with a roasted pear syrup and lemon.
2. Coconut oil + rum. Seems like a match made in heaven.
3. Chocolate. You can infuse spirits with cocoa nibs without using fat washing, but how do you get the white chocolate flavor? I haven't tested this, but it might be fun to try vanilla extract with food-grade cocoa butter with a vodka.
4. Bacon. Perhaps the very reason for fat washing. A natural for bourbon and the vodka in a Bloody. Save all your bacon grease from now on. See a recipe and watch the technique here.
5. Peanut Butter. Melt down the peanut butter and try our PB&J recipe with tequila from last year here.
6. Duck fat. Is this testing the limits of our palates? Maybe, but for the bold, try this duck a l'Orange-inspired recipe here.
7. Almond Paste. I would love to do a almond-paste infused brandy in a sidecar.
8. Butter. Have you tried browning butter? It's delicious. Hot-buttered rum without the calories!
9. Ghee, or clarified butter. This seems like an excellent opportunity to do an Indian-inspired cocktail, by infusing the ghee with Indian spices like cardamom, cumin and ginger. Perhaps a Rum infused with ghee and cardamom with an horchata rice milk?
10. Olive Oil. Try infusing this with gin to make a dirty martini without the salt. Not really so dirty anymore though, is it?
11. Sesame Oil. Would be great in sake martini.
12. Sausages. A lot of pork recipes call for juniper berries, so this would be a great opportunity to use the pork sausage drippings with gin. Chorizo with tequila is also a good pair.

Honorable mentions: cheese (particularly blue), avocado, marrow, and er, brains.

Here's how to do it:
1. Pick a base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, tequila, brandy, rum, etc.)
2. Pick a fat
2. Heat the fat to liquid form if need be. In the case of meats, use the heated drippings. If you use dried meat, like chorizo, you do not need to use the fat washing method.
4. Pour the fat into a container with the spirit.
5. Give it a good shake.
6. Let sit at room temperature for an hour to a few days (there's much disparity on infusion time, so experiment!).
7. Move to the freezer to solidify the fat.
8. After frozen, break through the layer of fat that has risen to the top.
9. Pour out the spirit, straining through a coffee filter or cheese cloth.

P.S. the oils that are liquid at room temp will not freeze as well as the fat solids, so there might be some trial and error. Be patient. Be diligent. And if you have a blast chiller, use it. Ha. I wonder if an ice-cream maker would work.

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More Home Bar Inspiration

From Alice's last post on home bars I was inspired to think about my ideal work space. While perusing Lonnie Magazine, I stumbled upon the bar at ABC Kitchen in NYC and fell in love with the aesthetic. Taking it's cue from a 1920's Parisian laboratory/apothecary, it encompasses a gothic-romantic-scientific vibe all in one - a lovely impetus for cocktail experimentation. Rather than relegate to a dream, I searched out items that could conjure the look at a reasonable expenditure.

1. Metal Shelving, $90 2. Graphite Pendant Light, $40 3. Coupe Glasses, $14 4. Wall Mirror, $499 or DIY Glass Tiles to look like Mercury Glass, 5 for $20. See antiquing technique here 5. DIY farm table, $100-$200 6. Crystals, $15 - $360 7. Pharmacy Jar Terrariums, $32-78 8. Tolix Stool, $250 9. Lab Equipment, $6-10

P.S. As you might notice, the organization of this post is heavily influenced by Design Sponge - a continued source of inspiration for us.

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