Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Carnage: Whole Lime Margarita Massacre

My friend Wanda told me about how she puts limes through her juice extractor to make Margaritas. All the flavor of the aromatic stuff in the lime shell goes into the drink, making for mind-blowing citrus excitement. Of course I had to try it.

So I bought a juicer, and boogied down to the health food store and got a bunch of limes. (I had some around but they were looking leathery. You want the perky limes.) And it’s pretty much what it sounds like: halve or quarter some limes and annihilate them in the slasher movie manner with a juice extractor.

The freaky part is that this procedure leaves an almost dry pile of green cellulose from the indigestible parts of the lime in the juicer’s bin. So to be strictly accurate, it’s an almost whole lime Margarita, but who really cares about the part you don’t wanna eat anyway? And there’s enough of the zest in the resultant juice to turn it bright green and crackling with electric lime goodness. The texture from all those bits of lime shell was a bit weird for my straight-up Margarita recipe though, so I ran the juice through a fine strainer. It takes a moment to strain, so you might as well make enough lime juice for several drinks. In fact, you could juice dozens of the things in minutes, so you could make ’em for all the ghouls that drop by this weekend. Knock ’em dead with a powerful whammy of lime oils!

Whole Lime Margarita
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice from sinister juice machine, strained
  • Salt rim
Rub the outside rim of a chilled cocktail glass with lime, and rim with salt. (I like kosher salt for texture, but only had sea salt.) Shake booze and freaky lime juice with ice and strain into prepared glass. Lime wheel garnish.

My aged gold tequila brought the green down a few decibels. Next time I’m going with a blanco.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Redeemed Leftovers: Peach-Rum Syrup

Hey—maybe not my most innovative, but it’s a small triumph when my leftovers don’t actually creep me out. One summer Sunday evening, I was trying to be seasonal and also not end dinner with a huge blob of fat for dessert. So I poached peaches. They were pretty cool, as that sort of thing goes. I added some gold Jamaica rum to the syrup—maybe a quarter to a half a cup. So at the end there was this slightly peach and rum flavored byproduct that was too good to discard. It was so subtle that a recipe didn’t immediately come to mind, but I figured I’d stick in anything that called for simple syrup. No longer would it be That Weird Thing I Made but an actual ingredient—one that plays well with brown booze. I’ll be poaching fruit for dessert again soon.

Savannah Sazerac
  • 2 oz rye (Sazerac)
  • 1/2 tsp leftover peach-rum syrup
  • 1/4 tsp absinthe
  • 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2-3 drops Angostura bitters
  • Lemon twist
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the lemon oil from the twist along the rim of the glass and over the drink, and drop it in or discard it.

Brugal Old Fashioned
  • 2 oz Brugal Añejo rum
  • 1 tsp leftover peach-rum syrup
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1-2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Splash of water
  • Strip of lime peel
The lime peel only works with a fairly fresh, perky lime and a sharp vegetable peeler. Take a good-sized strip of green off the outside of the lime and bruise it well with a muddler in a glass with the syrup. Add the bitters and a piece of ice or two. Add the spirits and the splash, and give it a stir.

I’d give you a recipe for poached peaches, but I don’t really remember exactly, and c’mon, it’s not brain surgery: peeled peach halves, sugar, water, rum at the end so you don’t cook it too much. Y’know—poached peaches.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn In New York: Pegu Club and Mayahuel

Life seems pretty crazed lately here at Fogged In Lounge. It seems like there has been no time to write with all the running around and tasting new things. But I should report on my recent trip to New York, which included visits to Pegu Club and Mayahuel.

My friends and I were due in Chinatown for a birthday party but turned up at Pegu for a quick session. The folks at Pegu Club are celebrating a birthday of their own with a fifth anniversary cocktail menu featuring the creations of their bartenders. Scott James (“Scotch”) Teague was behind the bar, and just by coincidence, I picked his Red Pepper, Red Pepper, a big, juicy, lightly sweet concoction of blanco tequila, bell pepper and subtle herbal notes served straight up in a large Champagne punt.

Scotch let me take his picture though the light wasn’t too cooperative. Low light in bars, while good for the desperate, is a challenge to the cocktail blogger.

Our trip to Mayahuel was exciting if a little hazy by the end of four amazing rounds, but there was so much to try on our first visit.

We were meeting my buddy’s wife there, and by the time the good lady joined us, we were already a few drinks in. But I remember the Division Bell, a bracing mixture of mezcal, Aperol, Maraska and lime, with special fondness.

And I got a sip of my friend’s unusual and wonderful Herb Alpert, a green one with jalapeño-infused tequila blanco, mezcal, fresh oregano and lime. Tequila as well as herb and vegetable cocktails are in my future.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Secrets of the Sea

One day, he was found in the Palais-Royal, leading a lobster at the end of a blue ribbon (because, he said, it does not bark, and knows the secrets of the sea). —Arthur Symonds, of Gérard de Nerval

Brugal Añejo has a touch of the ocean, of salt and iodine. While this drink would not be out of place in a tiki bar, it seems more Atlantic than Pacific.

Secrets of the Sea
  • 2 oz Brugal Añejo
  • 1/2 oz Firelit coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Malibu
Shake with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a double old fashioned. Garnish with a cherry and an orange.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nineteenth Century

Having been brought up in a mystery cult of the Very Dry Martini, I was braced for a shock from my first sip of genever-style gin, but anything in the name of science. Even so, it was way weirder than I had expected. Really? Is that what it’s like? REALLY? Well, it’s, um, REALLY?

Then I had a few drinks it worked with, thanks to David Wondrich, and genever became part of the routine.

The maltiness of genever combined with lemon juice reminds me a little of the lemon-cacao of the Twentieth Century, a Depression-era cocktail named for a then state-of-the-art passenger train. Genever is a spirit that returns us, at least for a moment, to a slower, more contemplative pace.

Nineteenth Century
  • 1 1/2 oz genever
  • 1/2 oz Swedish punsch
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 2-3 dashes Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
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