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Archive for June, 2009

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.

Clover Club

Posted by Reese On June - 14 - 2009

This week I’m going to turn my focus to another gin sour, namely the Clover Club.  This drink takes a bit of a diversion from the typical sour by replacing the simple syrup with raspberry syrup or grenadine.  Gary Regan mentions in the Joy of Mixology that this drink “isn’t much to talk about” when mixed with Grenadine, which presents a bit of a problem.  While I have grenadine readily available, raspberry syrup may be a bit tougher to find.  Good news though, as you’ve likely already surmised, I can and will make my own.  Here’s the cocktail recipe to get you warmed up while I work on some tasty ingredients.

Clover Club (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White
Raspberry Syrup or Grenadine to Taste
1) Combine ingredients over ice
2) Shake until well chilled
3) Strain in to a chilled cocktail glass

Cola Highballs – So Many Possibilities

Posted by Reese On June - 14 - 2009

This week’s drink of choice presented a nearly endless range of possibilities.  What cola to choose?  What recipe? What spirit?  I opted to narrow down the field a bit and focus only on the choice of spirit this time.  In doing so I had to decide on a cola and a recipe upon which to base my experimentation.  I decided on Blue Sky Cola primarily because it’s caffeine free, which works good for me.  Another plus for the Blue Sky though is that it is made with pure cane sugar which I feel gives sodas a crisper taste.  Now to the recipe.  As I mentioned in my intro post I wanted to focus on the all day drinking, summer BBQ style of highball so I went with 6 oz of cola and 2 oz of spirit for each drink.  Now some results.

Cola Highball Sampling

Bulleit Bourbon: Since Bulleit is a Rye heavy bourbon this drink was a bit spicier than some of the others, although not as spicy as the Rittenhouse.  The smoky notes are present and very tasty with the sweetness of the cola.  While this is a great drink I would choose straight rye given the choice.

Rittenhouse 100: Quite spicy from the use of the rye and yet the smoky barrel aged flavors are still there.  There was no doubt, I like this mix better than standard bourbon.  More flavors to play off each other and, not to sound too wine snobbish, an overall bigger flavor.

Eagle Rare Bourbon: A very sweet drink.  The natural sweetness of the bourbon combined with the sweetness of the cola takes it over the top for me.  While I do enjoy this drink with it’s subtle smoky flavors it’s not my favorite.

Jack Daniels: This one is a classic and understandably so.  For whiskey fans you get the mellow oak flavors coming through.  But, like the Eagle Rare, this was a bit too sweet for my taste.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum: The Dood wasn’t wrong with this recommendation.  Light vanilla and spice flavors from the rum come through and interestingly the resulting cocktail isn’t as sweet as I expected it would be.  This spiced rum also doesn’t have any of the weird aftertaste you get with some other spiced rums.  Definitely a solid choice if you’re a spiced rum fan.

Appleton Estate V/X: The gold rum has a more bold flavor than a white rum with more noticeable oak notes, although still fairly light.  After having tasted both light and gold rums in this drink I’d reach for the gold in the future as I feel it lends a more complex flavor to the finished drink.

Flor de Cana Extra Dry: Another solid Rum Dood suggestion.  This white rum is drier than the Bacardi which was a nice twist for me.  As I mentioned above I prefer this drink with a drier spirit so the end result isn’t overly sweet.

Bacardi White Rum: Since this rum is sweet to begin with adding it to the cola resulted in a drink that was sweeter than I like.  You do still get the pleasant molasses flavor coming through, which helps broaden the flavor.  While this drink is still pretty good it wasn’t one of my favorites.

So, now that I’ve told you about each spirit on it’s own how about a brief summary.  If you’re looking to make a whiskey based drink I’d suggest reaching for the straight rye first as it will give you a spiciness that is really great.  If you’re wanting something a bit sweeter then go for a rye heavy bourbon, such as the Bulleit I sampled.  It will give you the sweeter notes of the bourbon but still offer a nice bit of spiciness as well.

As for rum, my hands down winner was the Appleton Estate V/X gold rum.  The additional complexity of flavor with the light oak notes is definitely worth it.  Second is a tie between the Flor de Cana Extra Dry and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.  It really depends on the flavor profile you’re after at that point.  You really can’t go wrong with either.

Rum Suggestions from a Master

Posted by Reese On June - 9 - 2009

When I started Cocktail Hacker a little over a year ago my liquor shopping trips were strategic in nature, now it’s a decidedly more tactical affair.  In times past I would go to the store some times with a goal, more often not, and I would come home with spirits that sounded like they might be good.  Problem with that is the little “might” lurking in front of “be good”.  Most of the stuff I bought was very good, but there were a select few that just weren’t.  Further, of those that were good some of them simply didn’t fit the use I had in mind for them.

Flash forward to today and specifically this week’s cocktail.  When I shop now I usually have specific items in mind that I want.  Granted I still do some experimenting with my purchases, but it’s no longer the predominant method of selection.  As an example, one of this week’s cocktails is the Rum and Coke.  Now, I have a pretty sizable rum collection already so that wasn’t really the problem.  Problem was my collection wasn’t all that varied.  I really want to try a Rum and Coke with a variety of rums (light, gold, dark, spiced, etc) but I want my choice of rum in each to be a solid representation of its respective category.  That’s the sort of situation where I turn to the Jedi Masters for advice.


In this case the master of all things rum is Rum Dood (AKA Matt Robold).  Dood’s blog is devoted to the subject and there you’ll find well thought out reviews, excellent cocktails and in my case the education I needed on what rums to keep an eye out for.  About a month ago I asked Dood for a suggestion on a gold rum for everyday mixing and nearly immediately got back suggestions of Appleton Estate V/X and Mount Gay Eclipse.  I opted for the Appleton Estate V/X and the suggestion was spot on.  Last week Dood really piqued my interest with a post entitled Rum 101: How to Get Started with Rum.  The post offers Dood’s suggested rums from each of the major categories most often used in cocktails.

Today I followed Dood’s guidance once again and picked up bottles of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and Flor de Cana Extra Dry White Rum.  You’ll be seeing more about those as they relate to cola later in the week.  Until then, stop by Dood’s site and take a look at his first Rum 101 lesson.  I think you’ll find some valuable insight.

Cola Highballs

Posted by Reese On June - 7 - 2009

Highballs aren’t exactly new here at Cocktail Hacker.  I’ve covered the Gin & Tonic and the Dark and Stormy in the past.  Around Superbowl time I even put up some tips on creating your own DIY highball bar for your party.  But, one category I haven’t touched on as yet is the class of cola based highballs.  You all know them and I’d be willing to bet you’ve all tried them.

I don’t think there’s a ton I can offer this subject as regards the recipes themselves.  So rather I’ll be focusing on the spirits this go round.  What’s the best type of rum to make a Rum & Coke?  I’m not sure quite yet but I aim to find out.  Is a Jack & Coke really best with Jack Daniels or is it simply excellent marketing.  Again, I’m there to find out.  The two drinks I’m going to be focusing on this week are the Rum & Coke and the Whiskey & Coke.

If you’ve got suggestions for the spirits I should try out, please chime in.   I’m truly interested in hearing what folks like in these classic drinks.  The recipe I’ll be using as my basis of comparison is:

Cola Highball
2 oz Spirit
6 oz Cola
1) Combine ingredients over ice in a highball glass

I realize this ratio may be a bit cola heavy for some, but I’m looking more at the summer BBQ type of drink. One that will take you a bit to consume but still offers sufficient kick.