The Ghost of Birthdays Past

When we host a party, my wife often tells me she wants a cocktail(s) that will pair with food “X” for which she can coordinate a name, even the colors she wants.  This time she wanted a cocktail with tequila and pineapple.  While there are a few delicious, classic pineapple/tequila cocktails, most of these drinks are sweet and poorly balanced.  Now I’ll digress!The Ghost of Birthdays Past

You can download this spread sheet, Pineapple Simple Sour, follow the directions and skip the explanation below.  Then just jump down to the recipe here.

The problem you encounter when you substitute one juice for another in a cocktail, especially if you swap a citrus for a non-citrus juice, is loss of balance.  The drink easily becomes too sweet, (the most frequent result), too sour (acidic), too bitter, too strong or too weak.  The example for this cocktail is pineapple juice, but this discussion is equally true of orange, strawberry, apple or practically any juice.  When you substitute all or part of lime or lemon juice with pineapple juice, you are decreasing the primarily acidic and not very sweet lime/lemon juice and adding the sweet and not as acidic pineapple juice.  Lime juice is 6% acid and 1.5% sugar, while pineapple juice is 0.8% acid and 10% sugar.  Let’s say that you have a cocktail that is:

  • 2 parts Spirit (45%  ABV)
  • 2 parts Lime juice

The above drink will have an ABV of 22.5% and will be 3% acid and 0.75% sugar … and will not be very good.  If you were to add 2 parts pineapple juice, your drink will have an ABV of 15%, and will be 2% acid and about 4% sugar.  While adding pineapple juice to the above drink would probably be an improvement, it will still be a completely different cocktail.  Now, think about the above with 1 part simple syrup.  Figuring out how to maintain the cocktails sweet/sour balance quickly becomes mind numbing.

Dave Arnold extensively covers all of this in his book, Liquid Intelligence.   A book I highly recommend.  His suggestion for solving the above substitutions is to add acid to the juice to make it equal in acidity to lime juice.  Then you can sub away.  I heard Dave speak at this year’s San Antonio Cocktail Conference.  In addition to discussing the above, Dave covered creating fruit juice syrup with the same sugar content by weight as 1:1 simple syrup.  It is not uncommon for a cocktail to be 20% simple syrup.  That means a 20% dilution.  If you use a fruit simple syrup, you will still be diluting the ABV and acidity, but you’ll at least be enforcing the fruit flavor.  This is all a whole lot easier than it sounds.

Acidifying Fruit Juice

Lime juice has both citric and malic acids.  So, to acidify a juice, you need only know the percent acid in that juice and subtract that from 6% (the acid content of lime juice).  Since pineapple juice is 0.8% acid, 6%-0.8% = 5.2%.  To acidify a liter of pineapple juice, you will add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  Pineapple juice has a highly variable quantity of pulp, even if you filter it.  This means that 1 liter of pineapple juice will actually weigh more than 1 Kg.  However, it usually makes little difference, so you can just measure out 1 liter of juice and add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  The spread sheet above, actually asks you to weigh 1 cup of juice because it also calculates your pineapple simple syrup.

Making Pineapple Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 part sugar in 1 part water.  This should be by weight, though it’s frequently made by volume.  The issue with making a syrup from fruit juice is that the juice already contains sugar.  Adding the full quantity of sugar by weight or by volume will result in a syrup that is too sweet, thus easily unbalancing your cocktail.  To avoid this, you need to know the weight of sugar in the juice and the weight of the liquid – which will equal the weight of the sugar to make 1:1.  If you’re using bottled juice, pineapple-juice-nutritionaljust look at the label to see the weight of sugar in a “serving” of the juice.   The weight of sugar per volume will vary by brand.  The nutritional chart shown here indicates that 240 ml of juice contains 30 grams of sugar.  If you’re using fresh juice, consult the Google!  So to use this juice:

  1. Weigh 240 ml of juice in grams
  2. Subtract 30 grams (the weight of sugar in that juice) to calculate the weight of liquid.
  3. The weight of the liquid will equal the weight of sugar needed.  But you already have 30 grams of sugar.  So subtract 30 from the calculated weight of liquid to equal the weight of additional sugar needed.

So by example:

  1. Lets say the 240 ml of juice weighed 250 grams
  2. The liquid weight will equal: 250-30 = 220 grams
  3. You need 220 grams of sugar.  But, you already have 30 grams.
  4. Therefore, the weight of additional sugar needed will equal 220-30 = 190 grams.

Or you can use the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour


The Ghost of Birthdays Past

The only extra tool you will need for this is a digital kitchen or postal scale that will measure in grams.  You can purchase one from Amazon here.  You will also need to purchase citric and malic acid, also available from Amazon.

The name of this cocktail is derived from Ghost Tequila and the fact that I made the drink for my birthday!  The flavors are pineapple and the tequila with the Ghost Tequila bringing just a touch of heat.  You can alter the amount of Ghost Tequila to adjust the spiciness to fit your taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. Ghost Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. Silver tequila such as Milagro
  • 2 1/2 oz. Acid adjusted pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Simple Syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  1.  To make the Acidified Pineapple juice and the pineapple simple syrup, refer to the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour
  2. Chill a large, stemmed glass with ice and water
  3. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
  4. Shake to chill
  5. Double strain into chilled glass

Cheers!


 




Kumquat Sour

Kumquat SourI love kumquats, partly because it’s a fun word, but mainly because of the sweet and sour flavor.  It’s the only citrus I know of that you eat whole – peel, seeds and all!  A few years ago, I bought and planted a kumquat tree and eagerly awaited it’s first season.  What I did not know was that there are 2 types of kumquats that are common in the US.  The small one that we see in the grocery stores, which are the ones that you just pop into your mouth, and a larger, rounder variety that is not really amenable to eating out of hand.  Guess which one I got!  Well, what to do with a plethora of beautiful, small citrus that is sweet and very tart?  Make cocktails, of course.

The juice of these kumquats tastes a bit like orange, but has a tart/sour taste as well.  It is similar to lemon or lime juice in its tartness.  So I thought of a sour.  First up was a bourbon kumquat sour.  When I say that this that did not go well at all, I mean; “at all!”  What really surprised me was that the juice went very well with Irish Whiskey. I used Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt.  The Tullamore Dew has the earthy, grassy flavors of Irish whiskey with the flavors of fruit, (apricot, pineapple, raisin) and wood.  This blended perfectly with the sweet/sour/tartness of the kumquat.  The kumquat juice is a bit sweeter than lemon juice, so I backed off on the simple syrup.  Here is the recipe:

Kumquat Irish Whiskey SourKumquat Sour 2

  • 2 oz. Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt
  • 1 1/2 oz. Fresh kumquat juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add  ice cubes  to the shaker and shake to chill 15-20 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

Cheers!


 




New York Sour

New York Sour

New York Sour

This has become one of my favorite sours.  If we have a bottle of red wine open, it’s the first cocktail I consider.  The egg white makes a velvety mouth feel and the large ice cube in the shaker creates a nice texture.  Use a full bodied, fruity wine such as Merlot.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Russel’s 10 Year Old Reserve Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1/4 – 1/2 oz. Red wine
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and the egg white to a shaker and shake, without ice, for 30 seconds to break up the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular ice cubes plus one large cube * to the shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds until well chilled.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup
  4. Using the back of your bar spoon, float the wine on the drink.
  5. Express the lemon oils from the peel over the drink and discard the peel.

* Use a 1 1/2 – 2 inch cube plus 3 regular cubes or you can just use all regular cubes.

Cheers!




Belle Meade Sour

I like my whiskey sours 1:1 bourbon and lemon sour.  For the lemon sour, I prefer 2:1 lemon to simple syrup.  I also like the mouth feel of egg white.

Belle Meade Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular sized ice cubes plus on large cube (1 1/2 – 2 inches)* to the shaker and shake to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

* using a large ice cube creates a silky finish that complements the egg white.  You can omit this and use regular ice but you should get a large ice cube tray!

Cheers!




Paradise Remembered

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

It is Mixology Monday!  The theme, “Drink of Shame,”  is the invention of our host Tipicular Fixins.  We have all quaffed a few sweet, strange libations and I have imbibed my share of questionable drinks. This Month’s challenge, (now that we are real mixologists), is to create a cocktail  that elevates a drink from our misadventurous youth onto a higher plain.    I thought of resurrecting Trash Can Punch like some Frankenstein concoction, but instead I have chosen the Pina Colada.

Paradise Remembered CloseupWhen I was young, I spent a lot of time diving.  I would travel to islands and points south of Mexico known primarily for beautiful beaches, clear waters and unreliable postal service.  I would order a Pina Colada at practically every bar I entered.  These were occasionally amazing, but primarily consisted of some white liquid along with an unknown rum – all whirred with ice and usually sticky sweet.  I don’t remember ever ordering one in the US.

The cocktail I created, the Paradise Remembered, keeps the flavors of rum, coconut and pineapple, but I made it as a sour.  I used Kalani Coconut Liqueur, Cruzan Dark Aged Rum, fresh pineapple juice and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.  The result is much lighter than a Pina Colada.  The flavors are coconut and rum with the pineapple completing the combination.  The egg yolk contributes that silky mouth feel along with the appealingly luxurious, thick foam floating on top.

 Paradise Remembered

  • 1 1/2 Oz. Kalani Coconut Liqueur
  • 3/4 Oz. Cruzan Dark Aged Rum
  • 1 oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 Oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake without ice for 30 seconds
  3. Add Ice and shake until chilled 10 – 15 seconds
  4. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!




Belle Meade Bourbon

We had a magnificent time at the Cured – Belle Meade Bourbon Paired Dinner this past week in San Antonio.   A meal at Cured Charcuterie is always a treat and this 5 course pairing was no exception. Visiting with Andy Nelson of Green Briar Distillery and hearing about the resurrection of his family’s legacy was fascinating. (You can find the complete story on their web site here). The cocktails, featuring their Belle Meade Bourbon, Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon and Tennessee White Whiskey, were excellent and complimented the, as usual, superb food.

Well, this set me to creating some libations with Green Briar Distillery‘s most excellent Bourbon.  At Cured, they served a sour and a bourbon/amaro cocktail.  The “Chas Sour” contained their Sherry Cask Finished Bourbon, cardamom syrup and lemon juice.  The bourbon/amaro, the “Old No. 5″, used Belle Meade Bourbon, Averna and bitters.  I guessed at and came up with my version of the “Old No. 5.  However, I decided to also make a bourbon sour and a Manhattan both using Belle Meade Bourbon.

Belle Meade TastingFirst, lets talk about Belle Meade Bourbon.  I tasted this neat, both at the Paired Dinner and home.  Let me start by saying that the Nelson brothers have a winner out of the gate!  Belle Meade bourbon is worth drinking neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.  Full disclosure note: I am partial to high rye bourbons which includes Belle Meade.  That being said, here are my tasting notes:

  • Nose: Maple syrup and caramel with grapefruit
  • Taste: Rye spice with caramel, smoke and tobacco with vanilla
  • Finish: Smooth.  Several reviewers report that it has a short finish but I disagree.  It is a smooth, long finish with distinct cherry and spice.  If you “chew” it, you up the spice.

Old No 5

Old No. 5

So, on with the drinks.  Here is my version of the Old No. 5:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Averna
  • 1 dash Fee Brothers Barrel Aged Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the orange peel over the drink and float

Belle Meade Manhattan

Belle Meade Manhattan

Belle Meade Manhattan

This bourbon has legs, so I went straight to a 2:1 bourbon:vermouth ratio.  You can go with more vermouth, but I like the flavors of the Belle Meade and prefer that the vermouth complements and not over powers.  I used Angostura for the bitters and Grand Marnier for the sweetener.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 1 dash Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel and maraschino cherry for garnish
  1. Add everything but the garnish to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the orange peel and float then drop the cherry into the drink.

Belle Meade Sour

I like my whiskey sours 1:1 bourbon and lemon sour.  For the lemon sour, I prefer 2:1 lemon to simple syrup.  I also like the mouth feel of egg white.

Belle Meade Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 large egg white (can use 3 Tbl. pasteurized egg whites but it will not be the same)
  1. Add all ingredients, in order to a shaker and shake for 30 sec without ice to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add 3 regular sized ice cubes plus on large cube (1 1/2 – 2 inches)* to the shaker and shake to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  3. Double strain into a chilled coup and serve

* using a large ice cube creates a silky finish that complements the egg white.  You can omit this and use regular ice but you should get a large ice cube tray!

So there are three drinks using Belle Meade Bourbon.  I will soon be posting cocktails using Green Briar Distillery‘s Tennessee White Whiskey.

Cheers!

 

 




Grapefruit Tequila Sour

This has just the right balance of sweet, tart and sour.  It will be prettier with white grapefruit juice, but we usually can only get ruby reds.  Just be sure to use fresh juice.Grapefruit Tequila Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz. Melagro Plata Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 drops grapefruit bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake 10-15 sec.
  2. Strain into chilled champagne flute.



Amaretto Sour

This is Jeffery Morgenthaler’s version.  He’s right: It’s awesome.

  • 1 ½ oz. amaretto
  • ¾ oz. good bourbon
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
  • ½ oz. or 1 Tbl egg white
  1. Chill old fashioned glass
  2. Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry shake to break down egg whites
  3. Add ice and shake well 10 – 15 sec.
  4. Strain into chilled glass with fresh ice



Pisco Sour

  • 2 oz. Pisco
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  1. Chill cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients to shaker and dry shake to emulsify the egg white
  3. Add ice to shaker and shake to chill
  4. Strain into cocktail glass and top with a dash of Angostura Bitters



Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 oz. brandy or Cognac
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel.