Curl My Toes

Curl My Toes

This cocktail has all of the flavors of your favorite gin Martini with the added herbals of Kina al Avion d’Or.  Plus, the botanicals in the vermouth are enhanced by creating the vermouth syrup.  Curl My Toes has become one of “Doc’s Greatest Hits” at parties and Pop Ups.

While making beer syrup standing at the stove stirring, my eyes fell upon an open bottle of vermouth on the counter awaiting its use in cooking.  I had read about and tasted beer syrup, but I’d never heard of vermouth syrup.  A quick Google consultation confirmed no results.  After some experimentation, I settled on equal parts dry vermouth and sugar

To my palate, dry vermouth is more herbal than sweet vermouth.  So dry vermouth syrup tastes nothing like sweet vermouth.  In this cocktail, the dry vermouth syrup brings a touch of sweetness to offset the bitter Kina and a nice mouth feel.

I have tried this with multiple gins including London Dry’s and the new style herbal gins.  I’ve even subbed Kinsmen Rakia for the gin.  It all works.

Curl My Toes

  • 2 oz. Premium gin such as Uncle Val’s Botanical
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth Syrup – see below
  • 1/4 oz. Kina al Avion d’Or
  • Fresh herbs such as thyme and sage plus a dried lemon wheel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients, except the garnish to a mixing glass with ice
  3. Double strain into chilled glass
  4. Spank the herbs in your palm and float on the dried lemon wheel or on the drink

Vermouth Syrup

  • 1 part Dry Vermouth
  • 1 part Sugar
  1. The best way is to combine vermouth and sugar in a blender and blend on high several minutes until the sugar is dissolved.  You maintain the flavors of the vermouth if you don’t heat the syrup.  But, if you don’t have a blender, you can combine vermouth and sugar in a sauce pan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.  Do not allow the syrup to boil.
  2. Either way, strain through fine mesh strainer into a glass bottle.  Keeps refrigerated for about a few weeks.

Cheers!


 




Mad Hatter Martini

Mad HatterI enjoy paring cocktails with food, especially if creating a new drink.  We were serving salmon and asparagus the other day.  Since asparagus does not pare with any wine, this seemed the perfect opportunity for a cocktail!  Cue the Flavor Bible.  (If you cook, and or make cocktails, you need this book!)  I simply looked up salmon and asparagus comparing them for complementary flavors in common.  I chose thyme, lemon and carrots.  Yes, carrots.

Fish in general tastes best with a light, dry beverage.  Heavy or sweet can hide some of the subtle flavors inherent to fish.  In this case, I chose a gin martini.  You could substitute vodka for the gin, but you will lose the herbal notes that work so well.  I selected Ki No Bi gin for its flavors of kumquat, orange oil, juniper, spice and a slight bitterness of wormwood.  I used Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie that has an intense bright taste of carrots.  Lemon peel expressed over the drink and fresh thyme as a garnish completed the complementary flavors.

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs

The Mad Hatter Martini

As noted above, I used Ki No Bi gin.  Your favorite gin will work quite nicely in the cocktail.  I would avoid the highly herbal gins as they might overpower the subtle carrot.  If you find this too bitter for your taste, decrease the amount of vermouth or make it a perfect with 1/2 bianco vermouth.

The nose is thyme, lemon and citrus.  First flavors are clean, herbal, with a touch of spice.  Then you note subtle carrots and juniper.  The finish is long and dry.

 

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Premium dry vermouth (or 1/4 oz dry & 1/4 oz. bianco vermouth)
  • 1/4 oz. Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie
  • 2-3 drops Bitter Truth Olive Bitters
  • Lemon peel for expressing
  • Fresh thyme for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel for garnish (optional)
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and waterMad Hatter Bottles
  2. Combine the gin, vermouth, eau de vie and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard
  5. Spank the thyme and float it on the dried lemon peel

Cheers!


 




And Now for Something Suze

Now for Something Suze ServedI fell in love with Suze at first taste.  The full-bodied citrus and herbs and the long spicy, bitter finish had me!  I frequently use it as a modifier to add richness and a little herbal bitterness to various cocktails.  Almost a secret ingredient.

I created this cocktail to highlight the flavors of Suze.  After trying multiple styles of gin, I settled on Navy Strength Plymouth Gin.  Various London dries and Botanist were also very good.  I further experimented with vermouth.  Sweet vermouth alone does not work well.  A premium dry or a “perfect” with dry and bianco are best.

I’ve been making variations of this cocktail for a few years.  Only recently have I added Bigallet’s Thym.  While totally optional, the Thym enhances the woody notes of the Suze and prolongs the herbal flavors into the finish.  Just remember that the Thym is the modifier here.  More than 3 or 4 drops will result in a powerful taste of thyme.  The nose is lemon and faint herbs.  The first flavors are herbal and a touch woody.  Juniper follows with continued herbs and just a hint of thyme.  The finish is herbal, spicy and cleanNow for Smething Suze 2

  • 2 oz. Navy Strength Gin (Plymouth)
  • 1 oz. Premium Dry Vermouth such as Carpano
  • 1/2 oz. Suze
  • 3-4 drops Bigallet’s Thym (or half a bar spoon) – optional
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel and/or sprig of fresh thyme for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express lemon peel over drink and discard
  5. If using, dress up your cocktail with the dried lemon wheel, spank the thyme and float it on the lemon wheel.

Cheers!


 




The Corpse in the Sand (No 2)

Corpse in the Sand

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

It’s already Mixology Monday for October!  This Month we are hosted by Frederic of the  Cocktail Virgin and the theme is “Mashups.”  The challenge is to combine 2 cocktails into one Monster.  I started thinking of Scotch drinks, but nothing seemed to be anything special.  Looking at the Blood and Sand, a cocktail made with equal parts Scotch, Cherry Heering, Sweet Vermouth and Orange Juice, I was reminded of several other equal parts cocktails.  These included the Last Word, the Negroni, the Corpse Reviver,  the Vieux Carré (sort of) and the Blood and Sand.   I played around a bit and settled on “Monster Mashing” the Corpse Reviver (No 2) and the Blood and Sand.blood-and-sand poster

As noted above the Blood and Sand, which was named after the popular movie of 1922, is made with equal parts Scotch, Cherry Heering, Sweet Vermouth and Orange Juice.  The Corpse Reviver (No 2), which dates back to Harry Craddock, is made with equal parts gin, maraschino liqueur, Lillet, and lemon juice with a dash or wash of Chartreuse.  My initial attempt was to use the Blood and Sand recipe and substitute gin for the Scotch and lemon juice for the orange juice.  so the drink was:

  • Gin
  • Cherry Heering
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Lemon Juice

Corpse in the Sand3This drink was good but was pretty much Cherry Heering with citrus and some other background flavors.  So I decided to use maraschino liqueur rather than the Cherry Heering.  This works very well.  The herbals of the gin and vermouth are allowed to come through, but it’s really just a Corpse Reviver with sweet vermouth instead of Lillet.  So I decided to bring back the Scotch.  I did this with a Scotch wash and a shot back.  Now the Scotch plays along in the background bringing back the Blood and Sand like that other voice in the monster’s head!  Serving the Scotch along on the side re-enforces it’s presence as you enjoy the cocktail.

The Corpse in the Sand (No 2)

  • 3/4 oz. London Dry GinCorpse in the Sand2
  • 3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth – I used Dolin
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 oz. Single Malt Scotch – I used Cragganmore a Speyside Scotch.  I wouldn’t suggest anything too peaty or smokey.

Corpse in the Sand4

  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Pour the Scotch into a Shaker tin with enough ice to chill the whole cocktail.  Stir briefly to coat the ice and slightly chill and dilute the Scotch.
  3. Strain the scotch into a whiskey or shot glass and set aside
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the shaker and shake to chill.
  5. Double strain into the chilled cocktail glass.
  6. Serve the cocktail with the Scotch along side.Corpse in the Sand 5jpg

Cheers!





Thermian Mist

 

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday is “Drink Nerdy.’  Our host, Rebecca of The Shrubbery blog, challenges us to embrace our inner cocktail nerdyness.  From her Announcement Post, “The thing that unites everyone who participates in MxMo is our love of of cocktails. We love the history, the alchemy, the artistry, and of course the drinking. Loads of us go to conventions, collect memorabilia, read books about all manner of boozy subjects, and tour distilleries like they’re sacred places. One might say, we’re nerds.”  Well, I pretty much resemble that remark!

For starters, if you catch the movie reference in the name, “Thermian Mist,” your SciFi nerd credentials are complete!  So, in addition to a nerdy reference in our drink’s name, I wanted to try to incorporate as many cocktail nerd moves I could get into one cocktail.

  • Nitrogen Cavitation
  • Barrel Aging
  • Homemade Bitters

Thermian Mist

There is a lot going on in this cocktail.  We combine sherry barrel aged gin, Lillet, Aquavit, cardamom syrup and homemade gin bitters.  The gin was aged 4 weeks in a barrel that had been used to age Sherry, several Manhattans, including a Tequila Manhattan and bourbon.  The Sherry went back into the barrel between each Manhattan and before and after the bourbon.  So, it had last been used for Sherry just prior to the Gin.  What came out was straw colored.  The Gin looses some of the brightness of the botanicals but gains a touch of charred oak, a bit of bitterness, clove, cinnamon, dried fruit herbs from the vermouth in the Manhattans along with a bit of spice from the Bourbon.  There is a definite touch of Sherry. This, combined with the herbal Lillet, the caraway from the Aquavit and the cardamom in the syrup came out nearly perfect.  The “nearly” part is due to the loss of the fresh botanicals in the barrel aging process.  In comes our Gin Bitters to replace those lost botanicals.  The nose is herbs and lemon oil with a hint of gin.  The flavors are gin, the herbal Lillet and Aquavit with a background of oak, cinnamon and sherry. Here is the recipe:Thermian Mist

  • 1 1/2 oz. Sherry Aged Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet
  • 1/4 oz. Aquavit
  • 2 dashes Cardamon Syrup
  • 1 dash Gin Bitters – see below
  • 1 lavender leaf and a sprig of thyme for garnish
  • Lemon peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine the gin, Lillet, Aquavit, syrup and bitters in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Spank the herbs in your hand and float them on the drink.
  5. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard.

By Grabthars Hammer!

Cheers!

Gin Bitters

This is a simple staged infusion.  It will take about 2 1/2 weeks.  You infuse gin with various things, then boil the solids in water to extract the oils.  You then combine the oils/water back with the infused gin.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Gin
  • 6 oz. Each Lemon and Grapefruit peel
  • 4 oz. Lime peel
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • Cardamom 2 pods cracked
  • Star Anise 1 pod cracked
  • Dried Hibiscus 3 flowers – Available on Amazon
  • Dried Chamomile 5 flowers – Available on Amazon
  • 4 gm Fresh Lavender tied in a bundle with a string
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 TBL Dried Wormwood – Available on Amazon
  • 1 Tbl 2:1 Simple Syrup
  1. In a 1 pint mason jar combine gin and coriander.  Set aside in a cool place.  Shake the jar every day.
  2. On day 3, add the cardamom
  3. On day 4, add the anise, flowers and lavender
  4. On day 5, add the citrus peel
  5. On Day 7, filter the solids, reserving everything except the lavender.  Pour the gin back into the mason jar, seal and set aside.
  6. In a small sauce pan, combine the solids and the water.  Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and pour the liquid and solids into a second mason jar.  Seal and set aside for 7 days.  Shake the jar daily.
  7. After the 7 days, strain the liquid from the solids into the gin.
  8. Put the wormwood in a fine mesh sieve and tap it with your hand to remove as much dust and small particles as possible.
  9. Add the wormwood to the bitters and let steep for 30 minutes.  Strain first through a fine mesh sieve and then through a metal coffee filter.
  10. Working quickly, begin straining the liquid through a paper coffee filter.  When the liquid stops going through the paper filter, replace the filter with a new one and keep moving.  You need to get the wormwood out of the liquid as quickly as possible.  The small particles will make your bitters, too bitter!
  11. Add the simple syrup.  Set aside for an additional 3 days.
  12. At the end of 3 days, skim off any scum floating on the surface.  It will keep indefinitely.



MxMo CIX – Vinegar

Shrub Shots 2

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Adam of the Mr. Muddle blog.  He has chosen the theme of vinegar, as in the Shrub.  A shrub is simply fruit, sugar and vinegar.  They are generally sweet/tart and you can enjoy them with a little carbonated water or mix them in cocktails.  This month I’ve gone a bit overboard and am offering 4 cocktails using vinegar.  Three using shrubs and one vinegar, (specifically pickled jalapeno juice).

A few years ago, I ventured into making a shrub at home.  I don’t often have total failures, but that was one of them!  Jump forward to a few months ago and, while wondering through the liquor store, I came across a Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Shrub from Shrub Drinks.  I started playing with it and came up with the following:

Fords Gin with Balsamic Shrub Shots Fords Balsamic Shrub Shot

The Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Shrub is tart like you would expect but it is also pretty sweet.  To offset the sweetness, I added Salers.  In addition to bitterness, Salers also has serious botanical flavors that go well with the Fords and a touch of earthiness. Salers is a bit of an acquired taste so you might want to reduce it to 1 tsp.  The purpose of the few ice cubes is to chill and dilute only slightly.  The flavors are the gin, the sweet/tart shrub, the Salers’ botanicals and a touch of savory from the black pepper garnish.  The recipe makes 2 shots:

  • Lemon peels plus additional for garnish
  • 2 oz. London Dry Gin such as Fords
  • 1/2 oz. Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Shrub
  • 1/4 oz. Salers
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare the shot glasses by expressing the lemon peels over the glasses and then wiping the inside and rim of the glass with the peel.  Discard the peels
  2. Combine the gin, shrub and Salers in a mixing glass with 1 or 2 ice cubes
  3. Gently stir to slightly chill and dilute
  4. Strain into 2 shot glasses.
  5. Top the shots with 1 turn of black pepper
  6. Garnish with an additional lemon peel

 Tequila Shots with Tomatillo Lime Serano Shrub

Shrub Shots 1These are similar in concept to the above.  Obviously, tequila and lime go together.  This shrub has the tartness of the vinegar, but is not as sweet as the balsamic shrub.  The tartness adds to the drink and the fresh pepper brings just a touch of tingle.  This recipe also makes 2 shots.

  • 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 slices fresh serano jalapeno – seeded or not
  • 2 oz. Plata Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. Tomatillo Lime Serano Shrub from Shrub Drinks
  • 3 drops 10% Saline or a few grains of salt – optional
  • Lime wedge for garnishTequila Serano Shrub Shot
  1. In a shaker tin, muddle the jalapeno and lime juice
  2. Add the tequila and shrub and shake briefly with a few ice cubes.  Don’t over dilute or chill.
  3. Double strain into 2 shot glasses.
  4. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve

Shrub Collins

Tart CollinsThis is a twist on the classic way to drink shrubs – just add water.  This cocktail brinks the complexity of sweet vermouth and fresh lemon juice to the sweet/tart shrub.  You can use any shrub for this and can substitute a different fortified wine and/or add a spirit.  The concept makes for a refreshing summer drink.

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth – your favorite brand
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Shrub
  • Carbonated water
  • Lemon wheel for garnish
  1. To an Ice filled Collins or highball glass add the first three ingredients.
  2. Top with the carbonated water
  3. Garnish with the lemon peel and serve

Dirty Cajun MartiniDirty Cajun Martini

Where the dirty martini meets the Cajun martini: Hendrick’s Gin, dry vermouth and pickled jalapeno juice. Guaranteed to tickle your tongue.

  • 2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • ¼ oz. pickled jalapeno juice
  1. Chill cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
  3. Stir to chill 10 – 15 sec.
  4. Strain into chilled glass
  5. Garnish with jalapeno stuffed olive or jalapeno spear

Cheers!




Why You Should be Barrel Aging at Home

Barrel CropBarrel aging at home is fairly simple, not ridiculously expensive and seriously worth doing.  The in’s and out’s of getting started are covered in our Barrel Aged Cocktails page.   While simply barrel aging cocktails is reason enough to get started, the real magic occurs when you age something in a barrel previously used for a different cocktail or spirit.  For instance, tequila aged in a barrel previously used to age sherry, bourbon, Manhattans and gin.  Or White Whiskey aged, first in a new charred barrel, then aged further after Negroni’s and a Martini.   Each of these take on flavors far beyond those found in a charred barrel alone.  Thus, the fun!

Here are some examples of what we’ve been putting in our barrels.

Hudson White WhiskeyNegroni Aged White Whiskey

We used Hudson White Whiskey to flavor a new, charred oak barrel.  It went in, first for 1 month, then back into the barrel for 2-3 week stents between Negroni’s.  A Martini also spent some time in that barrel as well.  The Whiskey came out with a nice color.  The nose is caramel, vanilla, clove, herbal with a touch of corn whiskey.  The flavor is slightly sweet corn whiskey with the oak, caramel, vanilla and herbs.  There is a background of gin with a touch of bitterness on the finish.  We used it to make an excellent Boulivardier:

Boulivardier with Negroni Aged White Whiskey

Aged Whiskey Boulavadier Bottles

  • 1 oz. Negroni Aged White Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Dolen Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Fat orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an old fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled old fashioned over fresh, large ice
  4. Express orange peel over drink and float the peel

Barrel Aged Sherry

We used Lustau East India Solera Sherry to flavor a second new, charred oak barrel.  The barrel was then used to age Bourbon Manhattans.  These were aged alternating with the Sherry 3 or 4 times.  The barrel was then used to age bourbon, a Tequila Manhattan and gin.  The sherry revisited the barrel for 2 – 3 weeks between each cocktail or spirit. The sherry has a bit of color added.  The nose is sherry with vanilla, clove and a bit of caramel.  The flavor is dried fruits: current, apple, apricot and raisin.  I have used it in a number of cocktails that call for sherry.  It imparts a slightly mellow flavor along with the sherry you’d expect.  Here is our Sherry’d Manhattan:

Manhattan 2.0 with Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry

For the the bourbon in this cocktail, we tried Basil Hayden and Belle Mead.  Both were excellent.  The bourbon brings flavors of maple, tobacco, smoke and vanilla.  This blends well with the rich, earthy Carpano Antica’s tastes of herbs, spice and slight bitterness.  The aged sherry intermingles with the Italian Vermouth, smoothing the bitterness and adding to the richness.  Here is the recipe:

Manhattan 2.0

Manhattan 2.0

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz.  Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz. Manhattan/Bourbon/Tequila Barrel Aged Sherry
  • 1/8 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange  Bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and an orange peel
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Add the ingredients, except the garnish, to a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Add the cherries, (or place them on a pick), and express the orange peel over the drink and discard.

Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

Sherry Barrel Aged BourbonThis is one of my favorites.  The Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon alone makes barrel aging at home worth while!  I used Russel’s 10 yr Old Bourbon.  For an aged bourbon, Russel’s has a lot of spice.  Aging in a Sherry Cask which had previously been used to age Manhattans mellowed the spice.  There are significant flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel.  You can also taste the sherry along with dried fruit, possibly from the Manhattans.

Manhattan 3.0 with Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon

This cocktail is similar in concept to a barrel aged Manhattan cocktail.  However, since the bourbon has taken on flavors from the Sherry barrel while the vermouth was not exposed to the barrel or allowed to oxidize, the flavor is significantly different.  As noted above, the Sherry Cask Aged Bourbon brings flavors from the charred oak barrel: oak, clove, vanilla, and caramel with a touch of aged Sherry.  The unaged Carpano Antica maintains its rich flavors of fruit and almonds with spice and a slight bitterness on the finish.  Together, they create a fabulous cocktail.

  • 2 oz. Sherry Cask Aged BourbonManhattan 3.0
  • 1 1/2 oz. Italian Vermouth (sweet)
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Orange peel and Maraschino cherries for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water.
  2. Stir to combine all ingredients, sans cherries, in a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, express the orange peel and garnish with the cherries

Negroni/Whiskey Barrel Aged Tequila

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaI used Milagro Plata Tequila and aged it for 2 weeks.  The barrel was the one described above with Hudson’s White Whiskey alternating with Negroni and a one time Gin Martini.  With this aging, I had placed the aged White Whiskey in the barrel just prior to the Tequila.  I suspect that the flavor profile might be significantly different if the Tequila had followed a Negroni instead.  In the 2 week time, the Tequila took on a little color and a  lot of flavor.  I was aiming for a primary Tequila flavor with background barrel notes.  I was not trying to create Repasado from Plata.  After the 2 weeks, the flavor of charred oak was fairly prominent but it was still Tequila and it had picked up vanilla and clove from the oak and spice from the whiskey/Negroni.  There was also some dried fruit and herbs from the Negroni.  After a few weeks in the bottle, the charred oak flavor diminished some while the rest of the flavors remained.

Whiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan Bottles

Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan

In our standard Tequila Manhattan, I use Lillet Rouge instead of vermouth.  This cocktail calls for a much lighter touch so Dolin Sweet Vermouth fits nicely.  Sticking with the Tequila theme, I used Agavero Orange Liqueur as the sweetener.  It has a nice orange flavor and is a little sweeter than Grand Marnier.  If you need to substitute, use more Grand Marnier or add a dash of simple syrup.  I wanted to keep the “Manhattan” flavors as much as possible so I went with Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters.  The maraschino cherry brings the last touch of sweetness while the bitters up the complexity.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Whiskey/Negroni Barrel Aged TequilaWhiskey Negroni Barrel Aged Tequila Manhattan
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Agavero Orange Liqueur
  • 4 drops Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters sub Angostura
  • Maraschino cherry
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingedients but the garnish in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.

 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

Sherry Barrel Aged Gin

The most distinctive thing about gin is the fresh, herbal flavor.  This is true whether you prefer a heavy juniper London Dry or one of the New American Styles.  In my use, barrel aging any gin cocktail flattens those herbal notes.  They are still there, but the bright, fresh aspect is gone.  What is added by the barrel aging process depends almost entirely on what was previously in the barrel and how long the gin is aged.  The process works very well for a Negroni – not so much for any type of Martini.

I have seen Sherry Aged Gin on the market, so I wanted to try this with my Sherry barrel.  I chose Ford’s Gin, one of my favorite London Dry’s.  The barrel had been used to age Sherry, several Manhattans, including a Tequila Manhattan and bourbon.  The Sherry went back into the barrel between each Manhattan and before and after the bourbon.  So, it had last been used for Sherry just prior to the Gin.  Of note, this barrel was reaching the end of its life.  Ultimately, you extract all of the flavors – just like a tea bag.  After the Gin, I put the Sherry back in the barrel for 4 weeks, then followed it with Bourbon.  The Bourbon required 8-10 weeks to achieve the flavors that previously had taken only 4 weeks.  After that, the barrel was done!

The Gin was aged for 4 weeks.  What came out was straw colored.  As noted earlier, the Gin looses some of the brightness of the botanicals but gains a touch of charred oak, a bit of bitterness, clove, cinnamon, dried fruit herbs from the vermouth in the Manhattans along with a bit of spice from the Bourbon.  There is a definite touch of Sherry.  All in all, aging the Ford’s Gin in the Sherry/Manhattan/Bourbon Barrel was one of our best outcomes.  Definitely worthy of a repeat!

 

Sherry Barrel Aged Gin Wet Martini

Sherry Aged Gin Wet MartiniI wanted to enhance all of the flavors of the aged Gin and you’ll notice that this goes very light on the sweet vermouth.  With so little sweetener, the bitterness of the charred oak comes through.  The overall nose is Gin with a touch of oak.  Flavors are London Dry Gin with a flattening of the herbal notes and a bittersweet background of Sherry/Charred Oak.  The barrels previous Manhattan occupants add some dried fruit, herbs and spice.  I tried this with and without expressing a lemon peel, but couldn’t decide which I liked better.  So, I’ll leave the garnish to you!

  • 1 1/2 Sherry Barrel Aged Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 4 drops Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with the lemon peel if using

Well, these are some of my ideas for barrel aging.  In reality, and part of the adventure, is that none of these will be 100% reproducible!  I highly recommend that you try this at home.  The barrels are not expensive and the outcomes are definitively worth the little effort involved.  The process will require you to frequently sample some tasty cocktails and spirits as they age.  It’s a tough job…

Cheers!


 




Italian Cousin – a Bitter Sweet Balance

Italian CousinThis drink combines the herbal St. George Botanivore Gin with the slightly bitter and equally herbal Aperol and the nutty, bittersweet Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.  The Pimento Bitters add depth of flavor and mellow the sweetness of the Luxardo.  It is a very smooth drink.  I started out with the following recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Aperol
  • 1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 Dash Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish

This ratio, 1 1/2:3/4:1/4, produces a cocktail that bolsters the herbal and floral notes of the Botanivore with the orange, slightly bitter Aperol, with the Luxardo decidedly in the background.

Next up was a ratio of 1:1:1/2

  • 1 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
  • 1 oz. Aperol
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 Dash Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish

This cocktail was more balanced and significantly more bitter.  Now I like bitter, so this appeals to me, but the bitterness hides the herbal flavors just a bit.

Lastly, I used a 1:1:1, (Ah, yes, the Negroni ratio!).  To my taste, this brings the herbal flavors of the Botanivore and the Aperol in concert with the bitterness of Aperol’s cinchona.  You can actually taste the nutty, bittersweet Maraschino, helping to bring everything together.

  • 3/4 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Aperol
  • 3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 Dash Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine gin, Aperol, Luxardo and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass
  4. Express the orange peel over the drink and discard the peel.

Which ever way you choose, don’t forget the bitters.  They really add some depth and a touch of spice.

Cheers!


 




Gin & Blood Orange Tonic with Cucumber Cardamon Foam

Gin and Blood Orange Tonic with Cucumber Cardamon FoamThis drink is based on Kathy Casey’s Luxury Gin & Tonic Cocktail with Cucumber Lime Foam, (if you don’t follow her on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, you should).  I did not have all of the ingredients she called for and, besides, I generally like to mess with recipes!  This cocktail demonstrates a number of things:

  • How you can substitute ingredients
  • How to make your own ingredients when necessary
  • Making a flavored simple syrup with fresh ingredients
  • Making a rapid infusion to create a syrup
  • Making a rapid infusion to create all new bitters flavors
  • How you really need an iSi Whipper if you’re serious about craft cocktails at home.

Total active prep time for this cocktail was about 20 minutes.  Inactive prep time was 4 hours.  Without an iSi Whipper, there would be no foam and the infusions would have required 12-24 hours.  Bottom line, get yourself 2 or 3 iSi Whippers.

You can purchase Dry Blood Orange Soda (Dry is the brand name), and Monin Cucumber Syrup.  I used fresh blood oranges to make blood orange syrup and used that to make a blood orange soda.  I also added cardamon to the foam, cucumber to the simple syrup and substituted Luxardo for the Monin Bitters.  This cocktail doesn’t work without the foam.  With it, the drink comes alive with herbal notes from the gin and bitters, the citrus of the orange and lime and of course, the cucumber and cardamon.

Gin & Blood Orange Tonic with Cucumber Cardamon FoamGin and Blood Orange Tonic

  • 1 1/2 oz. Hendricks Gin
  • 3 oz. Blood Orange Soda – see below
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 3 dashes Tonic Bitters – see below
  • Cucumber Cardamon Foam – see below
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine everything except the foam in a mixing glass with ice – stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass and top with the foam.
  4. Serve immediately

Blood Orange SodaBlood Orange Soda

  •  Zest and juice from 5 blood oranges
  • 1/4 tsp Citric acid
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbl. Agave to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in an iSi Whipper and swirl to combine (do not shake or particles can plug the Whipper)
  2. Charge with 1 N2O cartridge and swirl for 30 seconds
  3. Let sit for 30 – 60 minutes
  4. Holding the Whipper upright, discharge rapidly.  Hold your hand about 10 inches over the top to prevent spraying your ceiling.
  5. Let sit for a few minutes then strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Keeps refrigerated a few days.

To make Blood Orange Soda, combine 1 part of the Blood Orange Syrup with 3 -4 parts carbonated water.

Cucumber Simple Syrup

Cucumber Simple Syrup

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 – 2 1/2 inch piece of English Cucumber
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Puree the cucumber in a food processor or with a stick blender.
  4. When the syrup has simmered for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and add the pureed cucumber.
  5. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  7. Will keep refrigerated about 2 weeks.

Cucumber Cardamon SyrupCucumber Cardamon Syrup

  • 4 oz. Over proof vodka
  • 3/4 Tbl. Cardamon pods – crushed
  • 1 – 2 1/2 inch piece of English Cucumber – pureed
  1. Combine all ingredients in an iSi Whipper and swirl to combine (do not shake or particles can plug the Whipper)
  2. Charge with 1 N2O cartridge and swirl for 30 seconds
  3. Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes
  4. Holding the Whipper upright, discharge rapidly.  Hold your hand about 10 inches over the top to prevent spraying your ceiling.
  5. Let sit for a few minutes then strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Keeps refrigerated a few weeks.

Cucumber Cardamon Foam

Cucumber Cardamon Foam

  • 2 Sheets Gold gelatin
  • 4 oz. Cucumber Cardamon Syrup
  • 2 oz. Water
  • 3 oz. Cucumber Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz. Pasteurized egg whites
  1. In a small sauce pot, warm the water and syrups over medium heat.
  2. In a separate dish, “bloom” the gelatin sheets in room temperature water.  They will feel soft and gummy.
  3. Remove the gelatin sheets from the water and squeeze out most of the water.  Add to the sauce pot with the warm syrups.  Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Remove the sauce pot from the heat and allow to cool 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the lime juice.
  6. Lightly beat the egg whites and pour through a fine mesh strainer into the the iSi Whipper.
  7. Pour the cooled syrup, gelatin and lime mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the the iSi Whipper.
  8. Close the whipper and shake vigorously.  Double charge the Whipper shaking between each charge.
  9. Refrigerate for 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  10. Will keep refrigerated for 10 -14 days

Tonic BittersTonic Bitters

  • 8 oz. Luxardo Bitters Liqueur
  • 1 Tbl. Ground Cinchona (Peruvian) Bark
  1. Combine all ingredients in an iSi Whipper and swirl to combine (do not shake or particles can plug the Whipper)
  2. Charge with 1 N2O cartridge and swirl for 30 seconds
  3. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes
  4. Holding the Whipper upright, discharge rapidly.  Hold your hand about 10 inches over the top to prevent spraying your ceiling.
  5. Let sit for a few minutes then strain through a fine mesh metal coffee filter (“gold” filter) and then through a paper coffer filter.
  6. Pour into a bitters bottle.
  7. Keeps on the shelf indefinitely – but the flavor will become more bitter over time.

Cheers!


 

 




Grandfather McFly 55

Grandfather McFly 55I’m sure most of you know that this past October 21, 2015 was “Back to the Future Day.”  That was the date that Marty McFly traveled to the future in the second movie.  (and the Cubs won the World Series!)  Well, in the first movie, Marty traveled to the past – specifically November 5, 1955.  So, to mark this auspicious date, I would like to share my version of a Mid Century Martini.  You know, the type where you say the word, “vermouth!” **  Since Marty’s father was in High School at the time and was too young to drink, I’m assuming his father, Marty’s Grandfather, would be the one to enjoy a 1950’s Martini.  Thus the name “Grandfather McFly 55.”

This cocktail calls for a whisper of dry vermouth and a London style Gin.  I have chosen Bombay Sapphire.  Ford’s, Beefeater or your favorite will all work just fine!  Any dry vermouth will also do as well.  To make it truly authentic, you can open the vermouth, re-close it and let it sit at room temperature for a few months, (just kidding – sort of!).  So, here’s to Space-Time Continuum’s, Flux Capacitors and really cool Deloreans!

Grandfather McFly 55 BottlesGrandfather McFly 55

  • 1 1/2 oz. London dry Gin
  • Dry vermouth
  • Olive for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Pour a little vermouth into a mixing glass and swirl to coat.  Empty the mixing glass into the sink.
  3. Add the Gin to the mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  4. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the olive.

** During WWII, the World’s supply of vermouth was held hostage by the Axis Powers.  Tradition has it that Winston Churchill would raise his Martini, sans vermouth, toward France and say “Vermouth.”  It wasn’t because he didn’t like vermouth, it wasn’t available!

Cheers!