It’s Derby time once again. Now, this won’t be the first time I’ve discussed the Mint Julep, and certainly won’t be the last. It’s such an iconic and classic drink, in some cases argued to pre-date the cocktail. I plan on enjoying a few of them today, and here’s one variation in particular. I came up with this Julep for a recent competition here in Portland, hosted by Maker’s Mark. It didn’t win the contest, but it did win on the palates of a number of the attendees. I think it’s pretty darn swell myself.
- 6-8 Kentucky Julep Spearmint Leaves
- 2 small chunks pineapple
- 1/2 oz Small Hand Pineapple Gum Syrup
- 1/4 oz Allspice Dram
- 6 drops Herbsaint Original
- dash Angostura bitters
- 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
In a 10 oz collins glass, muddle mint, pineapple, pineapple gum and allspice dram briefly and gently. Release the oils but don’t break the mint too harshly. Top with crushed ice to 3/4 of the glass, add Bourbon. Stir or swizzle until a frost begins to form on the glass, and top with more crushed ice until the glass is overflowing with ice. Garnish with a leafy mint sprig and pineapple wedge.
The drink’s name is King Julep as the pineapple is known as the King of fruits. Inspiration for the drink comes from my want to put a tropical spin on the classic Julep. Now, this might also play well with an aged Rhum Agricole, or strong Jamaican rum such as Smith & Cross, but I find the Maker’s Mark added an interesting nuttiness to the drink that played well with the sweetness of the pineapple gum. The Allspice dram, well, that’s just fun. I also utilized the 1-2 punch of bitters and herbsaint to add complexity, using the new formulation of Herbsaint, which I find enhances the mintiness of the concoction, which can get muddled amidst the other flavors.
All bets are in, hope you enjoy your own Derby Day!
Yes, another Mandatory Monthly cocktail blog post. This time, made even mandatorier as it’s hosted by one of my favorite bearded behatted gents on the internets, Matt Robold of RumDood.com! Since I stole his subject earlier this year (all part of my grand scheme), he’s decided to go the spicy route and chose ginger!
Ginger Beer is a nice and spicy ingredient, of which there are about 3 choices in any regional market, for a total of about 50 billion or so. I’m sure you’ll see a few recipes out there even just in this wrap up. I was almost half-tempted just to make this post a redirect to Jeff Morgenthaler’s How to Make your own Ginger Beer. But, since I started using his recipe to make my own (others have… failed), I have come across a few changes I like to make in mine to make it my own. I haven’t gone back to buying Ginger Beer yet.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Blair’s Ginger Brew
- 1 part Ginger Juice
- 2 parts Lemon Juice
- 2 parts Simple Syrup
- 1 tsp Allspice
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp yeast (brewing or champagne preferred, but anything will work) per liter
Juice your Ginger fresh in any convenient juicer. It takes awhile, and thanks to the fiber, your juicer will likely get jammed a few times. The effort is rough, but worth it. Stir all ingredients together in a large foodsafe plastic container, such as used in kitchen prep. Top with a lid and sit in a room temp, slightly dark area, such as on a shelf or under a counter, for 72 hours. Once your time is up, uncap, filter, and put in cold storage to inhibit the yeast growth. After a few hours in the fridge, you should hear a nice burp. EZ-cap bottles are definitely the bottle of choice. This creates a super spicy, super sharp ginger brew.
So, at this point you’ve either made that (recommended), or picked up some store bought. Well, if you don’t think 3 hours of effort, 3 days of waiting, and the cost of fresh ingredients is worth it, so be it. I’d recommend Ginger People, Cock and Bull, or Bundaberg. Now you’re hip for nay Dark and Stormies, Moscow Mules, Mamie Taylors and so on. But if you’re here and into Tiki, I think you know what may be coming next… you BASTARD.
One of my favorite Tiki Drinks, if only for the name (the flavors, if mixed wrong can be… off-putting) is the Suffering Bastard. We featured these drinks during last years Tiki Tuesday events, and the reception was warm for this slightly bitter strongly cooling drink. Thinking that was the end of its story, I then chanced upon Robert Simonson’s post on the Beachbum’s Visit to NYC. Here, he described the Dead Bastard, another drink by master mixologist Joe Scialom. This is the third of its cousins (the suffering and dying being the other), and I think it’s just… tops. As Robert Describes it, it’s a bit of a Tiki Long Island, featuring four types of booze, a few other knick-nacks, and finished off with a generous dallop of ginger beer.
- 1/2 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Brandy
- 1/2 oz Bourbon
- 1/2 oz Rum
- 1/2 oz Rose’s lime juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 4 ounces of chilled ginger beer
Shake Gently with 1 cup Crushed Ice, pour into Goblet or other large vessel. Garnish with whatever the hell, it’s dead and doesn’t care. I used a whole lime. It’s a big drink.
Combined with the Ginger Beer above, this makes for a killer diller of a drink, like a feather that knocks you flat on your feet. If you’re questioning the Rose’s Lime, see Robert Simonson’s post above. Just about everything has its place, and in respect to the original recipe, I used Rose’s Lime Juice. If it makes you feel any better, I garnished with an entire freaking lime, so at least some fruit was destroyed for the sake of the drink. For some reason, I couldn’t find the Brandy today, so I reached for Brandy of the apple variety (Laird’s) instead, and oh what a wonderful difference, adding a bit more fruit to the drink.
Well, here’s to hoping you go through the heck of a process to make Ginger Beer (or Brew, whatever), to see what the fuss is all about. Worth it in my opinion, but, even better if you can get someone else to make it for you. Cheers!
Can I get a cocktail post in here? Yes, and soon… soon as I recover from last night’s TDN.
In the meantime, a discussion of the comings and goings in my life, booze related.
We’ve deployed the Spring Cocktail Menu over at Acadia Bistro, with a few New Orleans classics, and some originals I think you’ll like. We’ve also been brewing our own ginger brew. It’s labor intensive, no kidding, but the results are so worth it. It ain’t the Colonel’s Shandy with no wussy Ginger Ale!
- 2 oz Bourbon
- ½ Lemon
- 2 dashes Rhubarb Bitters
- tsp Simple Syrup
Build over rocks in a tall Chimney Glass, and top with 1/2 Pilsner and 1/2 Ginger Beer. Give it a bit of a stir, and garnish with a Horse’s Neck.
Besides this dandy, you’ll find the classic New Orleans cocktails the P’lace de Armes, a New Orleans Style Jack Rose (with Peychauds Bitters), and Tchoupitoulas Street Guzzle. The originals Bulle a MontÃ© (the bubble rose), which combines housemade Rose/Hibiscus Liqueur with a lovely Gruet Methode Champenoise, the Fleur de Lis, a take on the Pink Lady with house made Orgeat in place of Grenadine, and featuring a PDT inspired Fleur de Lis stencil on top. Of course the classic Sazerac and other popular Acadian libations are still there. Drop on in sometime and say hi.
In other news, I’ve been accepted into the Tales of the Cocktail Cointreau Apprentice Program. What does this mean for you? Probably little. What does this mean for me? A lot of hard work in New Orleans this year, that’s for damned sure. I’ll be joining my buddies Erik and David, and a great list of other bartenders in this program. Like I didn’t sweat enough in New Orleans last year.
And in other other news, I’ve registered for the next B.A.R. 5-day program coming up this Fall in New York. Again, what this means for you? Bo diddly, I’m just sharing. With any luck, I’ll have a nice write up of some places in NY I’ve been itching to go to for the past year or two.
So, it looks like my year is pretty much setup to keep me incredibly busy. How you doing?
Hard times are all around us right now. The job market is slumping, real estate values are dropping, there’s a global economic crisis looming on the horizon. What better time for a drink? Come rain or shine, they ain’t called “spirits” for nothing, and I’ve got a real dandy drink made on the cheap for this Mixology Monday, Hard Times, hosted by my good friend Matt Rowley over at Rowley’s Whiskey Forge.
The cocktail that hit my mind instantly was the Chauncey Cocktail, a favorite of mine, as introduced to me at Teardrop Lounge. In my research, the furthest back I’ve seen this referenced was in the book The Catering Industry Employee, Official Journal of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ International Alliance and Bartenders’ International League of America, published 1934. I didn’t quite find this in time, and used the proportions from the CocktailDB entry, which is quite good. This is an all-boozer; time is money and I haven’t the time to waste on mixers when spirits are in need of lifting. As well, the booze involved can be found pretty cheaply, as it is all base spirits. No flight of fancy liqueurs or rarities here, this one’s a mix Gin, Rye, Brandy, and Sweet Vermouth. A damned good mix as well, I must say.
- 3/4 oz Rye
- 3/4 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Brandy
- 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
- dash Orange Bitters
Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
I took a special note here to use the cheapest ingredients I could get my mitts on, and rounded up the cost for you. Without counting ice, barware and glassware, this drunk will run you a kingly sum of $1.05, American. I suppose the nickel over the greenback makes this a bit fancy of a cocktail (though not a “fancy” cocktail), and I could have gone a touch cheaper, but you’ve got to treat yourself every once in awhile. Despite the low cost, this is a delicious drink that makes even the cheap stuff taste like heaven (well, bootlegger’s heaven). If you do happen to find yourself back in dough, try it with the fancy stuff. It gets even better.
Muchos Mahalos to Rowley for hosting this MxMo, and we’ll see you next round!
Time for another mixology monday. This has to be one of my favorite parts of the month, for no matter what I’m doing, sitting and reading through my cocktail books, or sitting in the galley trying out a new recipe becomes a required part of my To Do list.
This month’s theme, Bourbon, is hosted by the fine friendly fellas at Scofflaw’s Den, the second most googleable site for “concoctioneering”.
Bourbon, of course, isn’t in heavy use in the Tiki circuit. There are a few, to be sure (an Eastern Sour and Suffering Bastard come to mind), being that rum is the brown, clear, or “other” spirit of choice. Searching around Trader Vic’s book of Food and Drink, though, brings out a rather interesting looking drink recipe. As well, seeing as it calls for Shaved Ice, and I just happen to have a shiny new shaved ice machine, well, this one ain’t going where the Monkey put the Peanuts, so to speak.
Here’s the recipe and writing straight from the horse’s mouth.
A fancy-pants if there ever was one – the only bourbon drink I really enjoy.
This should be mixed and served in a 14-ounce mixing glass, for the reason that this glass tapers and permits proper stirring.
- 1/2 orange
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whisky (Four Roses or P.M.)
Squeeze orange and lemon into glass, dropping in the shells; add sugar and dissolve in the juice. Pack with shaved ice, add whisky, and stir thoroughly. Serve with straws. I recommend Four Roses or P.M. because they are good blended whiskies and I think blended whiskies make better mixed drinks than straight ones.
It’s a lovely and refreshing drink, perfect for this time of year. Almost like an Old-Fashioned for the summer weather, very simple, very good. I used Bulleit Bourbon for this, and was certainly not disappointed. I’ll have to admit that my Bourbon collection is vastly outshined by rum (and I like to keep it that way), but it’s one hell of a spirit, and I’m always eager to try another. Any suggestions for another Bourbon to try for this refreshing drink?