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Archive for December, 2009

Tiki in December – Fog Cutter

Posted by Reese On December - 9 - 2009

Calling this drink a Fog Cutter is a grand misnomer.  Much better thought of as a fog maker.  In Grog Log, Beachbum Berry has a great quote from Trader Vic that sums up his creation nicely.  “Fog Cutter, hell.  After two of these, you won’t even see the stuff.”  To give you a hint of why this is the case let’s take a peek at the recipe to get us going.

Fog Cutter (Grog Log)
2 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
2 oz Light Rum
1 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Sweet Sherry
1) Combine the ingredients (except sherry) in a shaker
2) Shake with ice until well chilled
3) Pour into a tiki mug
4) Float sherry on top

If you take a look you’ll notice that there are 3 1/2 oz of hard alcohol in this drink, 4 oz if you include the sherry.  See what I mean when I say fog maker?  After a couple of these and the fog settles in deep and wonderful.

Fog Cutter

When I first mixed this drink my first comment was that this is another tart but delicious cocktail.  The sourness from the lemon was a little overwhelming.  After a little thought it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t the recipe but rather my ingredients.  It would seem that my lemon juice this go-round is tarter than usual.  This is a nice segue into a good point I should make.  It’s always a good plan to give you cocktails a small taste before you shake and serve them.  This will give you an idea of whether your is mixed correctly.  For example perhaps your lemon juice is too tart.

To really give this drink the review it deserves I mixed up another with only 1 1/2 oz of lemon juice.  The resulting cocktail is much more balanced.  So, now that you know the drink is ~1/2 hard alcohol, on tasting it you’d never guess.  The sherry really only comes through in the scent, which explains why the recipe calls for it to be  a float.  I don’t notice the gin in this drink but I used Junipero which isn’t a particularly strongly flavored example of the spirit.  The brandy and rum meld nicely to make a harmonious core flavor with the citrus and the orgeat adding a subtle background flavor.

This is a great drink.  Whether you choose to mix it to cut your fog or perhaps deepen it a bit I’m certain you’ll be quite pleased with the results.

[Note] There are some other cool pictures from this cocktail.  I even got to play with dry ice.  Check them out on Flickr.

One of My Recipes Got Printed!

Posted by Reese On December - 8 - 2009

chile-pepper-magazineI have my first recipe published! :D

If you pick up the most recent issue (January 2010) of Chile Pepper magazine you’ll find my recipe for the Fire Island Daiquiri listed on page 34 in Kara Newman’s article about Hellfire bitters.  I have to give most, well all, of the credit to Kara for getting this recipe published.  She was writing an article about Hellfire bitters and asked if she could include my recipe as part of the piece.  Naturally I was thrilled at the chance.  So there you have it.  If you’d like to read the article you can also find it on Kara’s site here.

If you’re interested in some other spicy cocktails take a look at Kara’s book Spice & Ice.  It’s entirely devoted to spicy drinks with key ingredients including chiles, ginger and wasabi.

Tiki in December – Planter’s Punch

Posted by Reese On December - 7 - 2009

The first cocktail of my Tiki in December week is one I’ve heard mentioned many times, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try, Planter’s Punch.  Thankfully I decided I make a change to that.  This drink is a lovely pink with an interesting brown cap of dark rum.  The look of this drink alone screams out to me that it should be featured front and center in an ad for some tropical locale.  The tastes is best summed with that same word, tropical.  There is a ton of citrus flavor, not surprisingly, and the rum and grenadine flavors accent in the background.

Planter's Punch

This is definitely a drink that goes down very easy.  Although the tartness from the lemon juice does slow you down at least a little bit.  When you go to make this drink make sure you get a nice sweet orange juice.  If you don’t you may need to tone down the lemon juice a bit so it isn’t overly sour.  Experiment and see what you like.

I think this drink could also be a great party drink mixed up in advance, but still on the same day to preserve the fresh taste of the juice.  Put it all in a big pitcher and let people pour their own with some cracked ice.  Were you to take this route I’d go ahead and mix in the dark rum from the start.  The visual appearance won’t be as striking but your guests won’t have the trouble of trying to float the rum on top of their own drinks.

Planter's Punch (Beachbum Berry's Grog Log)
1 1/4 oz Orange Juice
1 1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 1/4 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Dark Rum
Orange Slice
Maraschino Cherry
Pineapple Chunk
1) Combine all but the dark rum in a shaker
2) Add crushed ice
3) Shake until well chilled
4) Pour into a tall glass
5) Float dark rum on top
6) Garnish with orange, cherry and pineapple

Tiki in December!

Posted by Reese On December - 6 - 2009

Come July you always hear lame commercials about “Christmas in July!”  Well, this year I’m turning the tables.  It’s time for Tiki in December!  Seems like a perfect time considering it’s been snowing for about 24 hours, we have ~8 inches and it’s roughly 15F.  Downright tropical if I do say.  Like I have for past Tiki weeks I’m going to cover more than one cocktail this week.  Specifically I’m going to mix and talk about three: Planter’s Punch, The Fog Cutter, and The Waikikian.

To get you in the mood here are some of the tiki cocktails I’ve covered in the past:

The Algonquin Cocktail – Nearly a Bust

Posted by Reese On December - 5 - 2009

As the title hints this week was nearly a bust for me.  The first Algonquin I mixed up was the recipe from Vintage Cocktails and Spirits.  Since the recipe called for rye I naturally reached for my go-to, Rittenhouse Bonded.  However when I started sipping I was disappointed.  The drink was very rye heavy and not particularly tasty.  However, this drink has survived the test of time so I knew it had to be pretty good if done right.  So I pressed on.

Next I tried the recipe from Difford’s Guide #8 (2 oz Rye, 1 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth, 1 1/4 oz Pineapple Juice, 2 Dashes Peychaud’s).  The drink was a lot more balanced and not nearly as rye heavy.  I didn’t find that the bitters added much and since this was the only recipe I found that called for them I dropped them altogether going forward.  Having tried this one I knew I was on the right track.

Next on the docket was the recipe from Gary Regan’s Bartenders Bible (1 1/2 oz Blended Whiskey, 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth, 1 oz Pineapple Juice).  I decided to stay with the rye since that’s what everything else called for.  This drink was much sweeter than the others and while the vermouth was still their it was very light.  As I continued to sip this one I came to an interesting realization.  Rittenhouse is 100 proof and balanced this version fairly well.  Were I to use an 80 proof it would be much more muted.  Maybe, that’s what went wrong with the first recipe I tried?  It was intended for 80 proof and my 100 proof simply overpowered the other ingredients.

On that note I decided to mix it up again with an 80 proof rye (Templeton).  Wow!  A much more balanced cocktail where the rye doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.  While that’s all well and good I still prefer Rittenhouse for my everyday mixing, saving the pricier stuff for special occasions.  Since I knew a ratio that worked well with 80 proof I was able to extrapolate a recipe that works great with 100 proof Rittenhouse.  So, if your rye of choice is 80 proof go with the original recipe from Vintage Spirits and Cocktails (2 oz Rye, 1 oz Dry Vermouth, 1 oz Pineapple Juice).  If you, like me, enjoy Rittenhouse, try my modified recipe.

The Algonquin Cocktail

The Algonquin Cocktail (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth
1 1/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

What’s my final verdict on this one? It’s pretty good. Not my favorite cocktail of all time, but I’d certainly be happy to drink one. The rye is definitely the star. The pineapple juice adds a subtle flavor but light sweetness is the key. Finally the vermouth adds complexity and rounds out the flavor profile. If you’re dying for a new rye cocktail this one is worth a go.

Happy Repeal Day to you all!