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Archive for September, 2009

Monkey Gland – Thankfully Non-Glandular

Posted by Reese On September - 13 - 2009

I don’t have a ton of experience consuming glands or their products.  I’ve eaten sweetbreads and I pretty much continuously consume the product of my salivary glands.  However, despite this limited experience, I think I can solidly say this drink tastes like no gland or gland product you’ll ever encounter.  Woohoo!  I liked this drink, both variations.  I started with the Benedictine variation.

Monkey Gland

It’s quite tasty.  Not overly sweet which is a good thing but be careful with the grenadine.  A heavy pour can easily make the drink too sweet.  I can’t say that the Benedictine adds a huge amount to the drink, but like any good supporting actor the drink would be incomplete without it.  It adds a subtle earthiness and herbal quality that really works very well.  Here’s the recipe I liked.

Monkey Gland (w/ Benedictine)
2 1/2 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Benedictine

I naturally progressed to the absinthe variant next.  Absinthe here, like in other cocktails we’ve covered, can quickly overcome the subtle flavors of the rest of the drink.  Go lightly and you won’t have a problem.  Again, be careful with your pour on the grenadine so it doesn’t get overly sweet.  I like this version as well.  I’m not sure that I can really say which is better.  The Benedictine and absinthe add completely different flavors to the drink.

Monkey Gland (w/ Absinthe)
2 1/2 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/8 oz Absinthe (at most)

Monkey Gland

Overall this isn’t my favorite cocktail of all time, but it’s pretty good.  I’d certainly drink one in the future.  I went with Odwalla orange juice and my only change would be to seek out a slightly more sour juice for my next go.  For your choice of gins I think pretty much anything would work in this drink.  The orange juice has enough flavor of it’s own that it can stand up to some pretty boldly flavored gin.  I went with Plymouth and it worked very well.

Monkey Gland

Posted by Reese On September - 7 - 2009

We’ve all got a number of glands performing various tasks in our bodies.  Now, I’m no anatomy expert but last I checked I don’t have a Monkey Gland.  I’ll double check…Thymus (check)…Salivary (check)…Monkey (yeah, no).  Hmmm…Well, sounds like a tasty cocktail and thus a good choice for this week’s investigations.

Gary Regan notes that there are two main variants on this classic.  The original utilizes absinthe for it’s flavor enhancer and is documented in the Savoy Cocktail book.  Since absinthe was not available in the US at the time a variant was created that swaps Benedictine for the absinthe.  Fear not though, my liver has enough capacity to try them both for you.

Monkey Gland #1 (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Fresh Orange Juice
Benedictine to Taste
Grenadine to Taste
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until thoroughly chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Monkey Gland #2 (Joy of Mixology)
2 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice
Absinthe to Taste
Grenadine to Taste
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until thoroughly chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Apple Martini – Green and Tasty

Posted by Reese On September - 5 - 2009

The week of Apple Martinis, although not the manliest thing I’ve ever done, actually wasn’t a terrible experience.  In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that this drink has gotten a bad rap.  Sure, given the recipe you choose it can be a little unnatural tasting there are options to help out.  Let’s start there.

Sour Apple Martini

Apple Martini (Joy of Mixology) – [2 oz Vodka or Gin – 1 oz Apple Schnapps] – This recipe made with vodka had a very light apple flavor and interestingly it wasn’t as artificial as I expected.  Although, I wouldn’t go with vodka again.  It simply didn’t bring anything to the party and was a little boring.  Now, you mix it with gin, albeit a light one, and you’ve got a serious cocktail on your hands.  In my case I wanted a lightly flavored citrus forward gin so the obvious choice was Bombay Sapphire.  It worked great in this drink and would definitely be my choice going forward.

Apple Martini (Difford’s Guide – Recipe 1) – [2 1/2 oz Vodka – 2 oz Apple Juice – 1/4 oz Rich Syrup] – This recipe is sweet and apply but lacks the tartness that the schnapps brings to the party.  If you could score fresh Granny Smith juice this would be a great option.

Apple Martini (Difford’s Guide – Recipe 2) – [2 oz Vodka – 3/4 oz Apple Pucker – 2 oz Apple Juice] – This version really tastes like fresh apples.   The pucker adds a nice bit of tartness which is really pleasant.  I really like this recipe.

Apple Martini (Equal Parts) – [1 1/2 oz Gin – 1 1/2 oz Apple Juice – 1 1/2 oz Apple Schnapps] – This is another good variation.  It pumps up the tartness even more but maintains the fresh flavor.  Another good recipe, especially with the gin.

For me it’s a toss up between the second Difford’s recipe and the equal parts recipe.  They’re both pleasantly fresh tasting with a nice tartness.  In the end it’s up to you and the amount of tartness you’d like in your drink.  For either recipe go for the gin option.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the additional flavor.  But make sure you use a light gin otherwise it could get funky.

Pucker in the Sun

Finally, I got to do a little experimenting over the week.  One of the things that has always intrigued me about Apple Pucker is that it turns completely clear over time.  I decided to see if I could speed up the process.  I put about 3 oz of Pucker (left) in a flask and set it in my south-facing for the week.  After only 5 days it was crystal clear (right).  Interestingly the flavor really didn’t change noticeably.  I have absolutely no clue what causes the change but it is kinda cool.  Oh, and in case it wasn’t completely clear that I’m a geek, this is the container I used to sun age the pucker.