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Archive for 2012

What I’m Drinking Now: Limoncello Lemonade

Posted by Reese On July - 9 - 2012

One of my original cocktail experiments, before I even knew they were cocktail experiments, was making homemade limoncello in college.  I had tasted it a couple times and, due to my deep love of lemon anything, was immediately hooked.  I remember that first batch, made with lemons peeled with a vegetable peeler, steeped for weeks in overproof vodka and generally okay.  Not amazing, but good enough to keep me trying.  I’ve since refined my recipe quite a bit (more on that later) and was making up a new batch a couple weeks ago.

Limoncello Lemonade

I had a bottle of limoncello in my freezer (that’s where it should be kept by the way) from my previous batch and wanted to do something fresh, crisp and summery with it.  Limoncello lemonade was the clear winner, but it needed some spice.  Inspiration came in the form of fresh herbs which are now blossoming all around.

The first batch we mixed up used basil which was fantastic with the lemon.  Next we tried thyme.  A good flavor choice but kind of a pain in the ass with the small leaves.  If you’re going to try that one use whole sprigs instead of leaves.  Then came tarragon.  The licorice notes went really well with the sweetness of the drink and sourness of the lemons.  Latest, but not last and certainly not least was mint.  It seems almost too easy, but this one worked really really well.  The almost cooling character of the mint went with the theme of a crisp summer cooler fantastically.  What’s next on the docket?  There are no limits.  How about rosemary, oregano, varietals of the above (lemon thyme, spearmint, etc)…please let me know what you try.  Oh, and I’d hope this goes without saying, but if you’re not an herb person or don’t have any around, skip them.  The drink is still damn good without any herbage.

Limoncello Lemonade
Herbs (optional)
1 1/2 oz Limoncello
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Soda Water
1) Muddle herbs, or not
2) Combine limoncello and lemon juice
3) Top with soda water

I’d suggest you try to sip it slowly and watch the world go by, but the reality is, you should just be ready to make another one in short order.

Life of a Cask: From Wine to Whisky

Posted by Reese On June - 25 - 2012

Here is a cool infographic from the folks at WineFolly showing the life of a oak cask from it’s initial use for sherry to its eventual use for aging scotch.  Check out the full version here.

Life of a Wine Barrel Infographic

Thanks to Cocktail Enthusiast for the link.

49 Bits of Booze Jargon Every Drinker Needs to Know

Posted by Reese On June - 21 - 2012

Gizmodo had a great post a couple days ago that’s worth checking out.  It’s 49 bits of booze jargon that get tossed around a lot when talking about cocktails and alcohol in general.  This one, for example, I strongly identify with.

Long: adj. Means served in a tall glass. Generally mixed with juice or water. “I’ll take a dark and stormy, long.”

You can check out the full list here.

Grandpappy

Review – Slushed

Posted by Reese On June - 16 - 2012

I scream! You scream! We all scream…for ICE CREAM! :D  And you know what’s even better than regular ice cream?  Boozy ice cream!  That probably wasn’t a huge mystery for you, but hey, it’s true.

As you can well imagine, when a review copy of Slushed arrived at my door offering more than 150 frozen boozy treats I was more than a little giddy.  There are a whole host of delicious sounding recipes to choose from: Campari and Lemon Gelato, Maple Bourbon Yogurt Studded with Bacon and Pecans, St. Germaine and Earl Grey Tea Gelato…suffice to say, the choice was harder than originally expected.  But, to give the recipes what I felt was a true test I wanted something fairly simple which should have great flavors.  I opted for Death by Double Chocolate Liqueur Ice Cream with a slight twist.

Death by Double Chocolate Liqueur Ice Cream (with a Twist)
6 Egg Yolks
3/4 cup Sugar
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Whole Milk
5 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (chopped)
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Chocolate Liqueur *
3 Tbsp Coffee Liqueur *
2 Tbsp Black Onyx Cocoa Powder *
* My additions/subtractions
1) In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together.
Set aside.
2) Combine the cream and milk in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the
mixture just starts to bubble at the edges.  Remove from the heat.
Toss in the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder.  Stir until the
chocolate has melted and the mixture is uniform.
3) Slowly, drizzle the hot chocolate mixture into the egg yolks,
whisking constantly to combine. Transfer the hot mixture back to
your pot.
4) Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it registers
170F on a candy thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of
a spoon.  Strain the mixture into a bowl.  Stir in the vanilla
extract and chocolate coffee liqueur.
5) Cool in an ice bath, whisking frequently to lower the mixture's
temperature.  Refrigerate untilcompletely chilled, about 4-6
6) Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the
manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a container and freeze
overnight.

I made this ice cream for Mother’s Day (yeah, yeah time’s been tight) and everyone loved it.  The texture and flavor were amazing.  Very silky with an incredible chocolate flavor.  The liqueur doesn’t add any alcohol flavor, but the core flavor (in my case coffee) came through in a subtle, just strong enough way.  This book is a huge winner in my opinion.  The focus is on great recipes that happen to have booze in them, not mediocre recipes with booze shoehorned in for gimmick’s sake.  In Elisabeth’s words “I want to make every recipe in this book this summer!”  I concur wholeheartedly.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Cinco de Mayo – Clase Azul Style

Posted by Reese On May - 4 - 2012

Hola, Amigos.  Cinco de Mayo is staring you in the eyes and I hope you’re ready to take it on.  If you’re not quite there yet, I’m here to help with a seemingly cliche, yet damn tasty, tequila post.  I got two samples bottles a while back that I’ve been enjoying for the past weeks and really need to let you know about.  They’re both really great products and would play very well with whatever you have planned for Cinco de Mayo.

Clase Azul PlataClase Azul Tequila Plata (40% ABV) – I opened the interesting bottle (more on that later) expecting to find another good, but not impressive, blanco tequila.  I was dead wrong right from the start.  The aroma is of roasted agave with bright, crisp vegetal notes and some citrus notes that are hard to pin down.  The flavor is quite simply delightful.  The agave is the star and this blanco is crisp, bright and lightly vegetal.  There is a slight peppery quality to it and yet it’s tremendously smooth.   Finally, there is a sweetness that runs throughout.  The finish is all about the agave with subtle sweetness coming along for the ride.  Really reminds me of the roasted agave I sampled at Tales of the Cocktail a few years back.  I think the most telling thing I can offer is that I kept on drinking my sample when I was done taking notes.  Just sipping it straight up.  Lovely.

How about that bottle though?  It certainly can’t be described as plain.  There are a few descriptors that have been tossed around the house lately, most of which are better not repeated here.  But, the killer for me is that it’s a pain to pour, like a huge pain.  That said, what’s inside is worth every bit of trauma but, be warned, you’ll be sad when a little bit drips on the counter.

 

 

La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila

La Pinta Pomegranate Infused Tequila (19% ABV) – The color is crimson and reminds you immediately of the color of pomegranate arils.  The aroma is nondescript and doesn’t hint much at what’s to come in the flavor.  Which, on a side note, I always find interesting as taste is largely scent based.  The flavor is sweet but not nearly so as other liqueurs.   The pomegranate flavor is very fresh and doesn’t taste overly cooked or at all artificial.  The tequila base is there, but it’s definitely a background note only.   The pomegranate flavors are the star.  Very tasty overall.  I would use this in an instant as a stand-in for grenadine.

 

 

 

 

 

And, that’s exactly what we did.  Naturally, there are a ton of great tequila cocktails I could have made (check the bottom for some links if you’re looking for Cinco de Mayo recipes), but given that I had great tequila AND a pomegranate liqueur it only seemed logical to mix up some Tequila Sunrises.  The flavor was spot on to the drink made in the classic fashion and, as always, very tasty and refreshing.

Clase Azul and La Pinta Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Azul and La Pinta Tequila Sunrise
2 oz Tequila
3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz La Pinta Pomegranate Liqueur
1) Combine the tequila and orange juice in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until well chilled and pour into an ice filled rocks glass
3) Slowly add the Pomegranate Liqueur so it pools at the bottom

Enjoy your celebrations, friends.  Here are a few more recipes to get your party rolling right.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.