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MxMo LI: Noon Day Sun Margarita

Posted by Reese On September - 19 - 2010

MxMo LogoThis month’s Mixology Monday, the 51st if you’re keeping track, is being hosted by none other than the wisdomed Pegu sage, Doug Winship of The Pegu Blog.  If you’re unfamiliar with MxMo let me catch you up quick so we can get to the important task of drinking.  MxMo is a monthly event where cocktail bloggers worldwide focus on one ingredient (picked by the host) around which to create a cocktail.  This month’s topic of choice is the ubiquitous lime.

There are of course a large number of cocktails that rely on the lime.  The Daiquiri.  The Dark and Stormy.  My perennial favorite, the Gin and Tonic.  I could go on, but there is one particular cocktail that I have to think pops in to most everyone’s head when they think of limes.  I’m talking about the Margarita of course.  Clearly I couldn’t simply remake the Margarita recipe I’ve made in the past.  Some innovation that would be.  No, I had to do something a bit more interesting.

Noon Day Sun Margarita

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I have a love for chiles, even in my cocktails.  I’ve made a couple batches of spicy bitters and I’ve crafted a couple cocktails based around them.  I’ve even made a previous MxMo cocktail using them.  For this MxMo I wanted to apply what I’ve learned from these experiments to craft the ultimate fiery Margarita.  So, without further ado, I present to you the Noon Day Sun Margarita.  It’s hot, but in all the right ways, much like hot sun on a tropical beach.

Noon Day Sun Margarita
2 oz Silver Tequila
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Agave Nectar
1/4 oz Orange Juice
Dash of Coronal Bitters
1) Rim a glass with salt, if desired
2) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
3) Shake until well chilled
4) Strain into an ice filled glass

I leave it to you to decide how much of fire you add with the Coronal Bitters.  For me, I like the heat at a level where you just get a lingering warmth on your tongue and a tickle in your throat.  Next, I really like the agave nectar in this recipe.  It bumps up the agave flavor from the tequila.  Finally, I really like the orange flavor that the Cointreau brings to the party.  So, to keep that theme going, I added a touch of orange juice.  I really like the addition.  Even if you decide to omit the spicy bitters this Marg is delicious.

MxMo XL: Ginger – The Ginger Five Spice Daiquiri

Posted by Reese On June - 15 - 2009

MxMo LogoThis month’s Mixology Monday is being hosted by none other than Rum Dood himself.  As you may recall I’ve been espousing Dood as the master of all things rum for the last few days and thanking him heartily for his suggestions on the topic.  Seems only logical that this month’s topic would be rum.  Although the logical choice, it is in fact wrong.  You see, they’ve already had Mixology Monday: Rum nearly a year ago.  So, the topic was chosen to be ginger instead.

When I saw this month’s topic I knew I had to mix up something tasty.  I absolutely love ginger, but what to make?  I already covered ginger beer back when I covered the Dark and Stormy, so that was out.  I’ve talked a bit about ginger ale specifically when making a Pimm’s Cup, so that option didn’t sound good either.  But one that I hadn’t experimented with was ginger infused simple syrup.  So, I decided that’s what I’d base this month’s submission on.  But as I was mulling this idea over in my head another idea slowly began to form, what about a ginger five spice simple syrup?

If done right I’d end up with a syrup that had both the spicy flavors of the ginger combined with the distinctly asian flavors of the five spice.  Well do it up right I certainly did.  Although, truth be told, my first batch didn’t have nearly enough ginger so I ended up giving it a second go.  The recipe below is for the second go and the ginger flavor is imense and wonderfully tasty.

Ginger Five Spice Simple Syrup
2 cups Water
4-6 oz Fresh Ginger Root
2 Tbsp Five Spice Powder
Demerara Sugar
1) Wash ginger and slice very thin
2) Simmer all ingredients on low for 30 minutes
3) Allow mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes
4) Strain off solids
5) Measure remaining liquid (about 1 cup in my case)
6) Add an equal amount of demerara sugar
7) Stir until dissolved
[Note] You can add 1 oz of grain alcohol to make it more shelf stable

The resulting syrup is a rich brown and is as fragrant as can be.  Now I had a solid ingredient but what recipe to use it in?  My first go was in a Rye Old Fashioned.  The resulting drink was good, but not great.  Back to the drawing board.  Then it hit me.  What about a Daiquiri with some nice gold rum?  It sounded delicious and the rum would certainly make the Dood happy.  Yes, my friends, that was the answer.

Ginger Five Spice Daiquiri

Ginger Five Spice Daiquiri
2 oz Appleton Estate V/X
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Five Spice Syrup
Candied Ginger for Garnish
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
4) Garnish with candied ginger

The complex flavor profile of this cocktail is tremendous.  The rum, ginger and five spice really play together very, very nicely.  You first get the five spice flavors hitting your palate followed by the subtle hints of oak in the rum.  Next comes the ginger flavor which plays through all the way to the after taste where you get a pleasant hit of the ginger’s spiciness.  You definitely want to choose a gold rum for this drink to get those light woody notes.  Another thanks to the Dood for the suggestion of Appleton Estate V/X.

Hope this entry in the MxMo annals has inspired you to mix up some interesting syrups of your own.  Let me know how they turn out, I’m always looking for interesting drinks.

MxMo XXXVIII: The Fire Island Daiquiri

Posted by Reese On April - 13 - 2009

MxMo LogoThis month’s Mixology Monday is being hosted by Tristan at the Wild Drink Blog.  Thanks in advance Tristan!  This month MxMo takes a look at twists on the classics.

In Tristan’s words:

This month’s Mixology Monday is all about twists on classic cocktails, that for one reason or another do an even better job than the drinks upon which they are based.

This could be as simple as a classic Margarita with a dash with a special touch that completes it, or maybe as complicated as a deconstructed Hemingway Daiquiri with a homemade rum foam/caviar/jus/trifle. It might be taking a classic like a Manhattan and using Tequila instead of Bourbon?

Before I get in to the meat of this post I have an admission to make.  I’m a chile head.  There, I’ve said it.  If it’s tasty, chances are I’ve seriously contemplated whether it could be made more tasty with the addition of some kind of chile.  Green chili?  You better believe that’s better with more heat.  Camembert on french bread?  You know what makes that better?  A little peach habanero jam.  So why not cocktails?

I’m not alone in my pondering of fiery libations.  When I decided I wanted to craft my own bitters I started looking for recipes and stumbled upon Charles Baker’s recipe for Hellfire Bitters, kindly posted here by Erik Ellestad.  Now we were starting to talk my language.  I whipped up a batch and have since been applying them, carefully mind you, to some cocktails with varied results.  Check back later this week for my modified recipe and the results.

As for cocktails, I’ve found these bitters work particularly well in a Margarita or in the case of this week a Daiquiri.  The topic of Thursday Drink Night (TDN) this past week was Mount Gay Extra Old and since I seriously love a nice daiquiri I decided that would be the starting point for my submission.  I had something come up and didn’t get a chance to offer my submission on Thursday but it really did turn out tasty and works great for this MxMo, so here you go.

Fire Island Daiquiri

Fire Island Daiquiri
2 oz Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Grenadine
2-3 Dashes of Hellfire Bitters
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Shake until well chilled (~30 seconds)
3) Strain and serve up or on the rocks

Some quick comments.  First, my original batch of hellfire bitters are a little weaker than I would like so I use more like five dashes.  I’ve got a second batch brewing though that should remedy this problem nicely.  Which brings my to my second point.  If you don’t have hellfire bitters laying around you could easily mix this drink without them.  The grenadine adds a nice subtle fruit flavor and makes the drink nicely colorful (or is that colourful ;).  Third, use whatever rum you’d normally use for a daiquiri.  You certainly know your tastes better than I do.  That said, the Mount Gay Extra Old is crazy delicious and worked wonderfully in this cocktail, albeit a bit extravagent.  Finally, I like this drink served on the rocks as it increases the water content which can mellow the heat if need be.

MxMo XXXVI: Recession Gin and Tonic

Posted by Reese On February - 16 - 2009

This month’s Mixology Monday is being hosted by Matt Rowley of Rowley’s Whiskey Forge.  The topic, Hard Drinks for Hard Times, I’m sure hits home for a lot of us.  My 401K is down 8.9% for 2009 (don’t even ask about 2008), I have friends and relatives who have been laid off, overall times truly are hard.  Thankfully I’m in a lucky position working at a stable job that I enjoy.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do a little cutting back on spending though.  On that note I’d like to offer up my Recession Gin and Tonic.

Recession Gin and Tonic
Recession Gin and Tonic
2 oz Burnett's Gin
6 oz Canada Dry Tonic Water
1 tsp Realime or Other Bottled Lime Juice
1) Combine in a double old fashioned glass with ice
2) Enjoy
3) Repeat

If you’ve been reading CH for a while now you already know about my love of the squeeze lime, which I waxed poetic about for MxMo XXXII.  However, not everyone agrees with my use of bottled juice as is evidenced by the haiku battle that raged in my blog comments.  I’ll certainly grant you that squeeze lime, or really any bottled juice, doesn’t offer the freshness of flavor that fresh juices bring.  On the other hand, they do offer convenience and affordability, which is key to surviving tough times.

For this G&T recipe I’ve used Burnett’s gin.  I picked up my first handle of Burnett’s after reading this review by Jonathan Forester.  Jonathan nailed it in his review.  This is a gin that is very inexpensive but packs a good deal of flavor.  It has a nice amount of juniper and the citrus notes are strong enough to make it a great gin for a G&T.

Finally, I went with Canada Dry tonic water, my now favorite super market tonic water.  Clearly I could have chosen to go with store brand tonic water, but even though I’m going for an inexpensive cocktail here, I still want it to taste good.  I am actually drinking these afterall.

So how hard is this cocktail going to hit your wallet?  It’s not going to hit it hard at all.  It’s going to be like a kitten falling on a pile of pillows.

  • Burnett’s Gin (1.75 L) $15.99 -> 2 oz $0.54
  • Realime (15 oz) $3.09 -> 1 tsp $0.04
  • C-Dry Tonic (6×12 oz) $2.99 -> 6 oz $0.25
  • Total Cost Per Drink $0.83

Eighty three cents.  Try to wrap your head around that number.  That’s cheaper than a soft drink nearly anywhere.  It’s cheaper than a crappy cup of coffee from the vending machine in my office.  And to make things even more impressive keep in mind that none of the ingredients that I used were on sale.  If you were able to score these on sale I think you could drop your total cost per drink down to around $0.65 easily.  Bam! Recession solved…Oh, wait.  No, not really.  At least you’ve got a tasty beverage to keep you going though.

MxMo XXXV: I Don’t Drink Beer

Posted by Reese On January - 15 - 2009

MxMo LogoThis month Mixology Monday is being hosted by The Scribe of A Mixed Dram. The topic of this month’s gathering (virtual at least) is ‘New Horizons’. Summed up as “Try a new base spirit. Use a technique you’ve never used before. Try something new!” Well, this led to a considerable amount of pondering on my part. Should I try a class of cocktails I’ve not tried? Something with a whole raw egg perhaps. Or maybe I should try to do some wine research. I certainly enjoy wine, but don’t feel I truly appreciate it. No, neither of those were really out of the box enough. In talking to Sean, a coworker and fellow lover of libations, I was reminded that I don’t generally drink or like beer. Let me elaborate.

During all my years of drinking I’ve never liked beer much and, as a result, generally don’t ever drink it. In fact I’ve been pondering this over the last few days and I’ve come to the conclusion that, all told, I’ve consumed about 8-10 pints of beer in my life. Weird, no? Especially coming from a graduate of CU, which was voted the number 1 party school in the country a few years running. Based on this it was clear to me what my MxMo submission for this month had to be. I had to brave the beer world and truly expand my horizons.

I enlisted the help of Sean and Eric who are the most beer knowledgable people I know and began what turned in to a fairly epic journey. First, we decided we’d walk to the local liquor store (Liquor Mart) which is about a 1/2 mile from my house. After nearly slipping on the ice numerous times and taking a wrong turn down a dead end alley we finally reached our destination. What came next was both amazing and baffling to me. We spent the next hour selecting the beers that would be inlcuded in this tasting. My requests were fairly simple: 1) Let’s not do a bunch of beers from the same brewery, 2) Let’s pick a wide range of beers, 3) Let’s pick the best and 4) We should include a Pabst Blue Ribbon, cause well you know it’s PBR and all. We even enlisted the wisdom of Kyle at the store, getting him suggest some options and pull a couple special single bottles from the back.

Once paid and out of the store it became abundantly clear that walking was probably not the best choice. Problem one of the journey home came shortly after leaving the store with our boxes of beer. You see, one box wasn’t especially well balanced and about 30 feet from the doors to the store it saw a gap in Sean’s hands and decided to make a break for it. Little did the escapees know, glass and parking lots don’t mix well. We quickly picked up the glass and Sean went in to replenish the stocks. Liquor Mart, being the fantastic store they are, replaced both six packs for nothing. Granted one was PBR, but still incredibly cool on their part. Problem two came about 3/4 of the way home when my arms felt like they were going to fall off. Thankfully that was easily corrected with some strategic load shifting.

What are the results of this epic journey you ask? Behold…

Beers for the Tasting

We ended up with 15 individual beers spreading the spectrum of types, processes, gravities, flavor profiles, breweries and even countries. To help out with the truly hard part, tasting, I enlisted yet more friends. Sean and Eric offered to come back, Aaron (fellow hacker) was in once beer was mentioned, and my Dad signed on once he knew the beer and pizza for the evening were on me.  Conrey was disappointed he couldn’t be around for the tasting, but was kind enough to provide this review (in order pictured) pre-tasting “yes, no, yes, never had, never had, love it, never had, good, really good, good, never had, meh, yes, ok, yes.”  Thanks buddy!  Below you’ll find my notes from each beer and bit from the experts (my fellow tasters) on what it should really taste like. Hope you enjoy.

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pale Lager – 4.7% ABV – Pabst Brewing Company
Pabst Blue Ribbon [Reese] Tastes like watered down real beer. Kind of a nasty after taste. I can certainly see why people like this. You could drink them all day and never know it.

[Experts] This is a classic macrobrew. It’s meant for drinking all day, like while you’re boating for example. Favorite in category by some, but certainly not a consensus.

Sapporo Premium
Japanese Rice Lager – 5.0% ABV – Sapporo
Sapporo [Reese] Sharper on the tongue, very little after taste. More flavor than the PBR, but still not strong by any means.

[Experts] Whew, all I can think of is sushi. More sourness than you get with an American lager. Not particularly bitter or hoppy.

Original Premium
Lager – 5.1% ABV – Weihenstephaner
Original Premium - Weihenstephaner [Reese] More of what I would define as the classic beer smell. Almost has a sweetness to it.

[Experts] Wow that is different. Smoother. More sweetness. You’re tasting the way the yeast and grain interact.

[Special Note] This is the world oldest brewery. Dating to 1040.

Easy Street Wheat
Wheat Beer – 4.6% ABV – Odell Brewing Co
Easy Street Wheat - Odell [Reese] More grain flavor. More malt flavor comes through. Not particularly bitter, sweet, sour, etc. This truly does go well with the pizza. Hard to admit it, but I’m enjoying this experience.

[Experts] That’s a classic American style wheat right there. Goes amazingly well with the pizza.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Pale Ale – 5.0% ABV – Deschutes Brewery
Mirror Pond Pale Ale - Deschutes [Reese] More of a hoppy smell and flavor. Quite a bitter after note, but not unpleasant.

[Experts] Can you taste where there’s more hops, more grains, more of everything? This is the top of the Pale Ales. The IPAs jump off from here. I don’t want to sip this, I want more!

Quest Tripel Blonde Ale
Gluten Free Tripel – 8.5% ABV – Green’s
Quest Trippel Blonde Ale - Green's [Reese] Kind of an odd smell. Doesn’t really taste like beer to me. Quite sweet, as beers go. There really is a Champagne flavor to this.

[Experts] What you’re smelling is the lack of grains. There is all sorts of citrus in that. More like a soda. Tastes kinda Champagne-y.

Peche Lambic
Fruit Lambic – 4.0% ABV – Lindemans
Peche Lambic - Lindemans [Reese] Tremendously sweet almost syrupy. Very peachy. Good, but certainly not beer. Tastes like Martinelli’s with alcohol.

[Experts] There’s a hint of peach to this beer *grin*…Oh my god! Is this peach syrup? Doesn’t taste bad, just doesn’t taste anything like beer.

Trappist Ale Tripel
Trappist Ale – 9.5% ABV – Westmalle
Trappist Ale Tripel - Westmalle [Reese] Very definitely beer. Much more bitter than some of the previous. Ummm…yeah…beer-tastic. I really don’t like this one.

[Experts] This is equivalent to Chimay. Dirt Tasting. Tastes harsh…I disagree. This is definitely a beer. Going from the lambic to this was quite a shock. But I don’t like Chimay’s either….GASP! I’m a big fan of the Belgians.

Fuller’s ESB
ESB – 5.9% ABV – Fuller’s
ESB - Fuller's [Reese] Definitely richer, more complex flavor. You can taste the nuttiness as Sean suggests.

[Experts] Now this is where Eric gets happy. We’re getting back in to beers now. No more of this froo froo stuff. Nutty! Do you get the nut in this? Mmmm…that’s a good beer. Dad – This is more beer than I’ve drunk in 10 years…at least.

Ellie’s Brown Ale
Brown Ale – 5.8% ABV – Avery Brewing
Ellie's Brown Ale - Avery [Reese] Smell is much more intense than previous beers. Definitely taste the coffee flavor. Richer flavor still. Bitter after taste…Not unpleasant, but certainly more present than previous.

[Experts] *Lip Smacking Sound* Mmm…some good coffee flavor. One of the best browns in the world. Who do you think’s better? Samuel Smith’s? Hell no!

Planet Porter
Porter – 5.5% ABV – Boulder Beer
Planet Porter - Boulder Beer [Reese] Beer is actually quite light despite the color. You can certainly taste the chocolate malt. A mellow beer with a fairly smooth flavor.

[Experts] Holy catfish! Look at that! This is a classic porter. When you read about porters in high school this is the one they’ll describe. This is the transition between the Mickey’s you had in middle school and the refined ale (PBR) you had in college. Porters are usually made with chocolate malt which is added during the steeping process. That’s where you get the dark color. This has the lightest body of the beers we’ve tasted but a stronger flavor.

Doppelbock – 6.7% ABV – Ayinger Brewery
Celebrator Doppelbock - Ayinger Brewery [Reese] Wow, the smell is intense on this one. The flavor is very, very different on this one. It’s a doppelbock! Clearly it’s got to be doppel what ever we had before. I expected a flavor similar to the porter and this is nothing like it. This has a really strong malt flavor.

[Experts] There’s all kinds of spice in this one.

[Special Note] This beer came with a tiny trinket. For those of us that have had less beer it is clearly a ram. Sean on the other hand believed it is in fact a minotaur. Or mee-no-tar as it was enunciated.

Old Rasputin
Russian Imperial Stout – 9.0% ABV – North Coast Brewing
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout [Reese] I came in to this expecting Guinness and I was told not to. I still get Guinness out of this, but I’ve maybe had two pints of Guinness in my life, all in car bombs. Definitely similar to the porter. I’m really losing my beer tolerance at this point. I can no longer get the taste of beer off my tongue.

[Experts] Don’t think Guinness…it’s more like the porter than anything else. That’s so succinct! This is Old Rassie! It’s good. Kicks Guinness’ ass.

Twin Sisters Double IPA
Double IPA – 9.5% ABV – Left Hand Brewing
Twin Sisters Double IPA - Left Hand [Reese] I like this more than the others we’ve had. The bitterness is nice and there is a bit of sweetness in there. Still above and beyond the Reese beer limit, though. Very hoppy.

[Experts] Definitely not as bitter as I expected. One of my favorites. Too bad we’re having this at the end of the tasting.

90 Minute Imperial IPA
Imperial IPA – 9.0% ABV – Dogfish Head
90 Minute Imperial IPA - Dogfish Head [Reese] The smell is distinctly hoppy and bitter. This is uber bitter. It really is cleaner than the Twin Sisters though. This beer is a kick in the face for me. I am quite thankful we’ve reached the end of the tasting. So…much…beer. When I handed the remainder of my beer to Eric his only comment was “Thank you!”

[Experts] This is cleaner than the Twin Sisters…I would drink this over the Twin Sisters every day. This is awesome actually. It’s something I can’t drink more than one or two of. I’m so glad we finished on this one.

[Special Note] The 90 minute is in reference to the amount of time that the hops are infused in the beer. They also make a 120 minute if you’re wondering.

Wow! What an awesome night of beer consumption. I really had a fantastic time and I truly have a new appreciation for beer. This was an excellent introduction to the world of beers. There are so many varieties and each definitely has its own unique characteristics. Am I a total beer convert? Definitely not. As you can see from my tasting notes as we got towards the end of the night I reached my beer threshold. With all of that said though, each time I sample a beer from here on out I’ll have a better understanding of where it stands in the beer world. Thank you to Eric, Sean, Aaron and Dad for helping making this night such an amazing time. I leave you with a final pic from the tasting. The aftermath, as it were.

The Aftermath