Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sloe and Frosty

Here’s a winter woods number we’ve been enjoying for several nights here at the Lounge. Juniper, sloe and blackberry combine to form some imaginary fruit only found in those millpond snow scenes on Christmas cards—and for some reason, in dental offices.

Sloe and Frosty
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sloe gin
  • 1/4 oz blackberry brandy
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Fee Bros orange bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MxMo LXVIII: Humbug!—Snakebite

Mixology Monday logo
A big Fogged In thank-you to JFL of Rated R Cocktails for braving the hazards of the season to host a Mixology Monday. His theme is “Humbug!” After an evening on the town trying to find a friendly beer or two in a San Francisco filled with smug, banal, poorly socialized revelers, “humbug” seems about right.

JFL invites us to “create or find a drink that is Anti-Holiday Season, or personifies your favorite Holiday Villain.” After last night, I might just become a holiday villain myself, but maybe it’s wiser to retreat with an anti-holiday drink instead. Behold the classic Snakebite. No fake cheer here—just cider and lager. To dress it up a little, I served it with an evil clown. Everything’s better with an evil clown.

Shandy, nonic 20 imperial oz pint glass

  • 1 part beer
  • 1 part cider
Built in a pint glass.

Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager and Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider combine in a tasty, undemanding pint, good for drowning out those awful voices of the nitwits all around you. Humbug!

Special thanks to Dave Hauslein and everyone at Healthy Spirits for gamely playing along, as always.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blackberry Manhattan

Greeting, folks. Time once again for the midwinter festivities. Grab that bourbon and follow along for yet another Manhattan cocktail variation. I find blackberry brandy so warming, don’t you? A lovely purple reassurance that I’m not a bad Santa after all—more of a slightly tired holiday ambassador, only too happy to share thoughts on the beautiful things in this life that make it worth living. But you’ll have to sit down here with me by the refrigerator so I don’t have to shout. Perfectly clean here on the floor. Make yourself at home. My blackberry liqueur is under guard in a temperature controlled environment—not unlike my brain. Both reveal Yuletide secrets to those willing to listen. Special secrets. (Where’s that glass? So far away.)

Honestly, I’m not sure where I first noticed the Blackberry Manhattan, though the version on the Leopold Bros site makes reference to a swell-sounding product I have yet to try, Blackberry Whiskey. Mine’s a bit closer to the Tim Knittle version, a noble creation. I present my version simply as a spontaneous riff on the very good idea of blackberry and bourbon together.

Blackberry Manhattan
  • 2 oz bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1 barspoon blackberry brandy (Leopold Bros blackberry liqueur)
  • 1 dash Fee Bros Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters
  • Lemon twist
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Do the twist.

Sort of a fuller, rounder Manhattan on the front, the blackberry comes in subtly as the drink develops, reminiscent of those blackberry or currant fruit gums I loved as a kid. A fine way to kick off the season.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Banana Colada

The banana: aromatic, starchy, ubiquitous. There is a race to rescue this important agricultural product from Panama disease, in case you didn’t know—pretty freaky, and a disturbingly apt metaphor for our time. I probably eat a dozen of the things a week, and would be at a total loss without them. That said, the banana’s a slightly strange drink ingredient, reducing your cocktail to a sort of alcoholic baby food. But the perfume of the banana has an allure irresistible—so much that I can’t help but try to make it work in various iterations.

Take the Banana Colada. According to the recipes I’ve found, this is a Piña Colada with banana in it. That sounds swell but I had hoped for a more direct banana-coconut relationship. Typically, these things are rarely as you imagine them, even on a Saturday with lots of planning and a guaranteed ride home. Nevertheless, I have whipped up, for your delectation, a pineapple-free Banana Colada. It does not quite have the merits of a fine Piña Colada but it is not a Piña Colada either, as far as that goes.

Special ingredients ingredients for this colada experiment: some homemade crème de banane—easy to do, even on a week night—and a little Licor 43.

Frozen drink

Banana Colada
  • 2 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz crème de banane (Serious Eats recipe)
  • 1/2 oz Licor  43
  • 2 oz Thai coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 8 oz crushed ice
Blend at high speed about a minute. Banana, cherry, nutmeg garnish. Coconut mug.

I used Barrilito for the rum, which seemed a little woodier than I would’ve liked with the rawness of the fruit, but worked better as the drink had a little time to develop. I’m still not entirely won over by the starchiness of the smoothie cocktail concept, but this was highly drinkable. Those juice bars really ought to offer rum as an option. Now that would be a boost.
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