Plymouth Old Fashioned

Plymouth Old Fashioned

I really like bitters forward old fashioneds.  To me, bitters bring flavor and spice that you aren’t going to find elsewhere.  One way to get a lot of bitters into a cocktail without making it, well, too bitter, is to make a syrup with bitters as all or part of the liquid.  For this drink I have chosen Applejack, brown sugar and black walnut bitters to use in the syrup.  It is then combined with calvados, bourbon and rum.

This is a big drink in size, strength and flavor.  The taste of apple blends with the vanilla and spice from the rum and the combined smoky notes of the rum and bourbon.  The black walnut bitters really stand out.  I initially used Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, but I think that Angostura Bitters with the Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and Orange Bitters is better.

You can easily lighten up this drink by substituting Cruzan Dark Aged Rum for the Zaya and/or Russell’s 10 year old Bourbon for the Basil Hayden’s.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 1 oz. Aged rum such as Zaya 12 Year Old
  • 1 oz. Aged bourbon such as Basil Hayden’s
  • 1 oz. Black Walnut Syrup (See below)
  • 1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Orange Bitters
  • 2 dashes Fees Brothers Aztec Bitters or Angostura Bitters
  • Thick orange peel for garnish
  1. Stir all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with fresh ice – preferably a single large cube or sphere
  3. Express the orange oils over the drink and float the peel.

Black Walnut Syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 1 oz. Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the liquid, stirring frequently.  Or you can put all of the ingredients in a blender and run on high for a few minutes.
  2. Allow to cool
  3. It will keep longer if you filter it through a metal coffee filter to remove any undissolved sugar crystals.
  4. Will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks

Cheers!





Chocolate Covered Rum

Chocolate Covered Rum

Well, we have chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered everything else so why not chocolate covered rum? I made a chocolate simple syrup with coconut nectar and drinking chocolate.  It is really deeply chocolate and very thick.  This cocktail has the flavor of rum and coconut but the dark chocolate predominates.  The spice of the chipotle and bitters keeps the sweetness at bay.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup – Recipe here
  • 2 pinches chipotle powder
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

 

  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass and serve

Cheers!


 




MxMo CXV – Chocolate!

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

It’s Mixology Monday, hosted by Garnish Blog, and the theme is chocolate!  I absolutely love it: chocolate and booze are a match made in Heaven!  We have three cocktails to offer this month: the Chocolate Manhattan, the Chocolate Covered Rum and the Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned.


Chocolate Manhattan

Chocolate ManhattanI attended a seminar on tequila and chocolate at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference last year.  It was an epiphany!  Which statement is true: “Chocolate goes with everything” or “Alcohol goes with everything?”  Or both?  Anyway, I used Milagro Plata Tequila which blends with the Lillet and chocolate in surprising ways.  The touch of bitterness and complexity of the Lillet Rouge complements the bittersweet Godiva.  This cocktail is not too sweet, but balanced and intriguing.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Milagro Plata Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Rouge
  • 1/2 oz. Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
  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 glass and serve

 Chocolate Covered RumChocolate Covered Rum

Well, we have chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered everything else so why not chocolate covered rum? I made a chocolate simple syrup with coconut nectar and drinking chocolate.  It is really deeply chocolate and very thick.  This cocktail has the flavor of rum and coconut but the dark chocolate predominates.  The spice of the chipotle and bitters keeps the sweetness at bay.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup – see below
  • 2 pinches chipotle powder
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

 

  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass and serve

Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned

Chocolate Old FashionedI thought that a simple Old Fashioned with aged rum and bittersweet chocolate would work.  It does.

 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Barbancourt 12 yr old Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass, express the orange peel over the glass and serve.

Chocolate Simple Syrup

This is like eating a 97% cacao chocolate bar.  Only a touch sweet.  If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

  • 1 oz. Water
  • 1 oz. Coconut nectar or sub honey
  • 4 tbls. Dagoba Drinking Chocolate mix.  You can substitute another brand but I used 130% of the amount to make 1 cup of drinking chocolate.
  • 1 tbls. Sugar or to taste.
  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
  2. Cool slightly before use.
  3. If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

Cheers!


 




MxMo CXIV – Digestifs

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

I love bitter!  So, naturally, I love this theme! I think the amari and other digestifs add an amazing complexity to any style of cocktail, (well, I haven’t tried it with Tiki drinks – yet!)  This month we have two cocktails to offer.  We obviously have the Holidays in mind as these are both rich and creamy drinks!


Danny Boy

Danny BoyThis is a rich, bittersweet version of an Irish coffee.  I’ve used coffee syrup, which is easy to make and works much better than hot brewed coffee in cold cocktails.  The flavors are coffee first with a background of bittersweet and a creamy texture.

  • 2 oz. Cold brewed coffee syrup – see below
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey – I used Tullamore Dew Special Reserve 12 yr.
  • 1 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz Montenegro
  • 1/2 oz 2:1 Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz Cream
  • Coffee beans for garnish
  1. Chill a large Coup with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except garnish, in a cocktail shaker with ice
  3. Shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass
  5. Allow the foam to rise to the top for 15-20 seconds then carefully drop three coffee beans on top for garnish

Coffee Amaro Flip

Bittersweet Coffee FlipI think that Flips, in all of their forms, are an interesting type of cocktail.  This drink is kind of a grownup eggnog – rich and creamy but not cloyingly sweet, with a bittersweet component which creates an intricate cocktail that speaks rum, coffee and the deep, earthy flavors of Amaro Nino.

  • 2 oz White rum – I used Treaty Oak
  • 1 oz. Amaro Nino
  • 3/4 oz Cream
  • 1/2 oz 2:1 Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur – I used Starbucks
  • 1 Lg Egg
  1. Chill a large Coup with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker without ice and dry shake for 30 seconds (Make 4 of these and you can have an extra slice of pie!)
  3. Add ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass
  5. Allow the foam to rise to the top for 15-20 seconds then grate a little nutmeg on the top.

Cold Brewed Coffee Syrup

Making a cold syrup concentrates the flavors of the coffee.  Definitely use a coffee you like to drink!  We use a dark roast from Starbucks.

  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely ground coffee
  • 5 cups water
  1. Combine coffee and water in a container stir well and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature.
  2. Strain, first through a fine mesh filter, then through a paper filter
  3. Keeps refrigerated for 1-2 weeks

Cheers!




Pumpkin Bisque Shooters

Pumkin Bisque Shooters

First, a big “Thank You” to Booze Nerds because without this MxMo, I might not have thought to add the Applejack foam to these!  I love pumpkin and I’ve always been a fan of pumpkin bisque.  I like mine to be savory.  Save the sweet for the pie!  Since I have a more than passing infatuation with rum, I simply looked to combine two of my favorite flavors.  I tried this warm, with bourbon and with dark rum.  Not great in any combination.  Cold bisque and gold rum were the perfect match.  The bitter sweet flavor of the apple brandy foam is perfect with the savory, slightly spicy pumpkin bisque.

I have included the recipe for my pumpkin bisque below, but you can use your own or even your favorite prepared brand.

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

For 2 Shooters:

  • 2 oz. Cold Pumpkin Bisque – see below
  • 1/2 oz. Gold rum such as Cruzan or Mount Gay
  • 1 dash Simple syrup
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Apple Brandy Foam – see below
  1. Combine pumpkin bisque,rum simple syrup and bitters in a mixing glass without ice and stir to combine.
  2. Divide between 2 tall shooters
  3. Gently float the Apple Brandy Foam on the shooters
  4. Serve immediately

Apple Brandy Foam

  • 3 egg whites (4 1/2 oz pasteurized egg whites)
  • 3 oz. Applejack Brandy
  • 2 oz. Fresh Orange juice – double strained
  • 2 Dashes Bar Keep Apple Bitters
  1. Add all ingredients to an iSi Whipper
  2. Seal the whipper and shake to further break up the egg whites
  3. Double charge the Whipper with N2O, shaking after each charge
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours before use.  Will keep refrigerated for a few days.

Pumpkin BisquePumkin Bisque Shooters 2

  • 1 tsp Cayenne
  • 2 Cups Diced Onion
  • 2 cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. Butter
  • 1 – 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Sherry
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  1. Saute the onions in the butter until translucent – about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 30 sec.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and simmer for 30 min
  3. Place the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Return the puree to the pot, add the cream and continue to cook until heated through.
  5. Serve immediately or cool for the above shooters.

Cheers!


 




Hemingway Deconstructed

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

This Month’s Mixology Monday is upon us and the theme is “Standoffish.”  Brought to us by the folks at Booze Nerds, the idea is to add an ingredient to a cocktail that is not included with the main ingredients and is not a garnish.  At the same time, this ingredient needs to add something to the final drink.  Well, we love foams and foams can fill these requirements!  We have two cocktails to offer, but before I get to them, I want to ramble on about foams for a moment!

I generally limit the foaming ingredient, ( the surfactant), to egg whites.  Gel sheets produce a prettier and more stable foam, but they take a little more effort than I usually wish to invest.  Egg whites are quick, stable enough and reliable.  I also generally use pasteurized egg whites for our foams.  I think that they are better for this application than are fresh egg whites.

The foams I make are from one of two ratios:

  • 2 egg whites: 6 oz. of liquid
  • 3 egg whites: 5 oz. of liquid

The 3:5 ratio produces a creamier and, therefore, thinner foam.  While the 2:6 ratio creates a light and fluffy foam.  For these cocktails, I used the 2:6 ratio for the daiquiri and the 3:5 for the shooters.

Now, on with the drinks!  We have chosen a seasonally appropriate shooter that can either be a cocktail or an appetizer and is easily adjusted to accommodate the non-drinkers in the crowd.  The other probably reflects my wish to either hold onto summer or to head for the Islands!

The Hemingway Deconstructed

Hemingway Deconstructed s

 

This cocktail is our Z Daiquiri, which is along the lines of a Hemingway, but without the grapefruit juice.  So we simply incorporate the grapefruit juice in the foam.  The foam is tart and a touch bitter.  It combines very nicely with the not too sweet daiquiri.  While on the the topic of sweetness, you may want to adjust the amount of simple syrup based on the tartness of your lime juice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. good aged rum
  • ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Hemingway foam – see below

Directions:

  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water.
  2. While the glass chills, combine all of the ingredients, except the foam, in a shaker.
  3. Shake with ice until shaker is fully frosted: 10 – 15 seconds
  4. Strain into the chilled martini glass.
  5. Carefully float the foam from your iSi whipper and serve immediately

Hemingway Foam

  • 2 egg whites (3 oz. pasteurized egg whites) lightly beaten
  • 2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 4 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice – double strained
  • 2 Dashes Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
  1. Add all ingredients to an iSi Whipper
  2. Seal the whipper and shake to further break up the egg whites
  3. Double charge the Whipper with N2O, shaking after each charge
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours before use.  Will keep refrigerated for a few days.

Pumpkin Bisque Shooters

Pumkin Bisque Shooters

First, a big “Thank You” to Booze Nerds because without this MxMo, I might not have thought to add the Applejack foam to these!  I love pumpkin and I’ve always been a fan of pumpkin bisque.  I like mine to be savory.  Save the sweet for the pie!  Since I have a more than passing infatuation with rum, I simply looked to combine two of my favorite flavors.  I tried this warm, with bourbon and with dark rum.  Not great in any combination.  Cold bisque and gold rum were the perfect match.  The bitter sweet flavor of the apple brandy foam is perfect with the savory, slightly spicy pumpkin bisque.

For 2 Shooters:

  • 2 oz. Cold Pumpkin Bisque – see below
  • 1/2 oz. Gold rum such as Cruzan or Mount Gay
  • 1 dash Simple syrup
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Apple Brandy Foam – see below
  1. Combine pumpkin bisque,rum simple syrup and bitters in a mixing glass without ice and stir to combine.
  2. Divide between 2 tall shooters
  3. Gently float the Apple Brandy Foam on the shooters
  4. Serve immediately

Apple Brandy Foam

  • 3 egg whites (4 1/2 oz pasteurized egg whites)
  • 3 oz. Applejack Brandy
  • 2 oz. Fresh Orange juice – double strained
  • 2 Dashes Bar Keep Apple Bitters

 

  1. Add all ingredients to an iSi Whipper
  2. Seal the whipper and shake to further break up the egg whites
  3. Double charge the Whipper with N2O, shaking after each charge
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours before use.  Will keep refrigerated for a few days.

Pumpkin BisquePumkin Bisque Shooters 2

  • 1 tsp Cayenne
  • 2 Cups Diced Onion
  • 2 cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. Butter
  • 1 – 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt to Taste
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Sherry
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  1. Saute the onions in the butter until translucent – about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 30 sec.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and simmer for 30 min
  3. Place the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Return the puree to the pot, add the cream and continue to cook until heated through.
  5. Serve immediately or cool for the above shooters.

Cheers!


 

 

 

 




Tepache!

Tepache is pineapple, top removed, chunked, unpeeled, juiced, then mixed with a few spices and sugar and allowed to ferment, uncovered, first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator, with whatever is in the air, for one week.  If pineapple juice and hard cider had a baby – it would be tepache.  This favorite street drink of Mexico is tropical and slightly pungent with a little funk.  Traditionally served alone or with Mexican beer, tepache is making its way onto cocktail menus all over the US.

It first came to my attention when I read a Bon Appétit post last Summer.  Then this past July, I spotted an article about a DIY tepache in Imbibe .  When I noticed that the recipe was from our friends at Victor Tangos, my curiosity was truly peaked.  Victor Tangos is one of the restaurants I try to visit when we’re in Dallas.  So, I absolutely had to head over there at my first opportunity.

victor-tangosWhen I had a chance to discuss Victor Tangos’ version with Manager Matt Ragan, he said their tepache is basically just the way Bartender Alejandro Galindo’s mother used to make hers.  According to Matt, they make their tepache in the restaurant and there is little, if any, variation between batches.  They have used it in several cocktails, mainly Tiki drinks, substituting tepache for pineapple juice.  During my visit a few weeks ago, they were offering the Tomar de los Muertes, which eschews the rum and combines mezcal and tequila.  Matt says that the tepache cocktails have been well received and will continue on the menu for awhile.

I used Alejandro’s recipe, which is simple and came out very similar to what I had at Victor Tangos.  It was good at the end of the seven days proscribed in the recipe, but got better when allowed to ferment another ten days.  You don’t have to make your own – just ask at your favorite liquor store. We tried it alone, with beer and in a few different cocktails.  I found that the cocktails are best if the amount of tepache is equal to, or less than, the volume of hard spirit.  Otherwise, it overwhelms the drink.  We settled on 3 favorites: a Tiki variation, a tequila/amaro combination and a gin cocktail.

The Potted Tepache Parrot

This is a riff on Trader Vic’s Potted Parrot using tepache rather than orange juice.  I also increased the orgeat.  The flavors of the ingredients all come through: the rum, the tart/funky tepache, the orgeat and a hint of lemon.  Here’s the recipe:Potted Tepache Parrot

  • 2 oz. Cruzan white rum
  • 2 oz. tepache
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. curacao
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 12 oz. crushed ice
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice
  3. Pour unstrained into chilled  glass

Next up is:

The Tepache Tease

The bright flavor of the tequila adds to the tropical pineapple while the plum/cherry notes in the Bonal plays with the pungency of the tepache.

Tepache Tease

  • 2 oz. Tepache
  • 2 oz. Plata Tequila such as Milagro
  • 1/4 oz. Bonal
  • 1 dash 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain over fresh ice in chilled glass

 

 

And finally:

The Tepache Cocktail

This proves you can have an elegant cocktail that uses pineapple!  Tepache Cocktail

  • 1 oz. Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Tepache
  • 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash (1/8 tsp) 2:1 simple syrup
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass and serve

Cheers!


 




Mixology Monday CI – Orange Juice

remixmo_final1This month’s theme for Mixology Monday is Orange Juice, brought to us from the host of MxMo 101, DJ Hawaiian Shirt of the Spirited Remix blog.  And, not just “Orange,” but Orange Juice.  I think this month’s challenge is great because we love OJ!  The first drink I thought of is the Potted Parrot, and second is a cocktail I created a few years ago that, in addition to OJ, has Wild Turkey 101.  Somehow that number 101 seems appropriate as well!  I wanted to contribute something original but I’ll get back to that in a minute.  The first drink is:

Wild Turkey in Heat

This cocktail is a bourbon and orange sour with the almond sweetness of the orgeat and the kick of habanero.  The name originated during a family ski trip to Steamboat Springs a number of years ago.  We always ate dinner at the Tugboat Saloon on our first night and, so, cold and tired, I spotted a bottle of Wild Turkey behind the bar.  I asked the waitress if they had Wild Turkey 101.  She replied, “Yes.”  To which I said, “I’ll have that neat.”  She then repeated my order, “A Wild Turkey neat.”  Now, from the other end of the table, with great incredulity, our teenage daughter asked: “What’s a Wild Turkey in Heat?”Wild Turkey in Heat

  • 2 oz. Wild Turkey 101
  • 2 ½ oz. Orange juice
  • ¾ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. orgeat
  • a dash of 2:1 simple syrup or ¼ oz. regular simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Bittermans Habanero Shrub
  1. Chill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Add all ingredients to shaker and shake with ice
  3. Add unstrained to chilled Double Old Fashioned

 L’Orange Indulgence

This is our cocktail especially concocted for MxMo CI.  I don’t often create desert drinks but I began by imagining the flavors of a chocolate covered, orange rum ball to be savored accompanied by a cup of coffee.  Here is the formula for this sweet orange indulgence:

L'Orange Indulgence

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Premium white rum
  • 4 oz. Fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. Creme de Cacao – white
  • 1/2 oz. Licor 43
  • Coffee foam – see below (This drink does require a whipped cream maker.   If you don’t have one, you really should get one, for this drink and others!)

Directions

  1. Chill a fancy cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine rum, OJ, Creme de Cacao and Liquor 43 in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Float foam over the drink and serve

For the Coffee Foam

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites, 9 Tbl or 4 ½ oz. pasteurized egg whites (see note)
  • 3 oz. Tia Maria
  • 2 oz. orange juice double strained
  • 1 dash Regans Orange Bitters

Directions

  1. Lightly whip egg whites – be fairly aggressive if using fresh
  2. Add all ingredients to whipped cream charger
  3. Secure top and shake a few times to further break up the egg whites and combine ingredients.
  4. Double charge with N2O, shaking 4-5 times between charges.  Over shaking can cause ingredients to clump and clog charger.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour before use.
  6. Keeps a few days refrigerated.

Note:  Pasteurized egg whites work best – the plain variety, not the yellow dyed brand.  The fresh egg whites will not keep as long and they can make a foam that clumps.  If you use fresh egg whites, beat them pretty well to break up the protein strands.

And last but not least, the Potted Parrot.  I like this Tiki drink and we usually include it as a choice for our guests when we break out the little umbrellas!

Potted Parrot

 

This is one of Trader Vic’s original’s.  Potted Parrot

  • 2 oz. Cruzan white rum
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. curacao
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. orgeat
  • 12 oz. crushed ice
  1. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice
  2. Pour unstrained into tall glass

That’s our MxMo for this month.

Cheers!


 




A Tonic Bar for Your Next Party

TonicBar HeaderAs busy host/hostess, anytime you can offer a fun, engaging, self-serve cocktail bar, expect your guests to rave about your entertaining prowess!  A tonic bar is a simple way to allow your guests open access to create their own drinks while you get to enjoy your party too.  Its versatility works great for casual outdoor gatherings and equally well for holiday festivities.

GinTonic 1Before we address the blue print for a great libation station, let’s look at the recent transformation of the venerable Gin and Tonic.  About ten years ago, the “Gin Tonic” became the rage in Spain.  Bars developed their own, proprietary Tonic Waters with which they prepared beautiful cocktails in over-sized, stemmed wine glasses, filled with colorful fresh citrus and herbs.  Drinking establishments take pride in featuring their version of the “Gin Tonic.”

The most important ingredient in gin, and the one necessarily present in all gins, is juniper. Beyond that, it’s the Wild West, because there is no minimum amount of juniper required for a spirit to be labeled ‘gin.’  A single juniper berry in a vat of spirit qualifies as ‘gin.’

Fords GinI had an opportunity to discuss Gin and Tonics with Jason Kosmas, Co-founder of The 86 Company, (Fords Gin among others), Co-founder of Employees Only and Co-author of Speak Easy. According to Jason, just about any premium brand of gin can be used for Gin and Tonics.  Jason prefers that juniper be an actual flavor present in gin, followed by citrus and various herbs.  When determining what will go best with any particular gin, Jason encourages us to “read the back label” and see what is in the gin.  With Fords Gin, he suggests creating a cocktail with the addition of grapefruit, coriander, lemon, and jasmine.

qtonic Fever TreeWhen it comes to tonic water, there are several good premium brands readily available.  Jason mentioned Fever Tree, East Imperial and Q Tonic.  He looks for natural ingredients and sugars.  The flavor should be quinine first and dry rather than sweet.

For garnishes, Jason looks to rosemary for “woodsy,” and he likes grapefruit, dries spices, star anise, aromatic berries such as strawberry, cucumber and/or fresh lavender.  For sweeteners, he recommends agave, dried flowers and even herbal tea blends.

Of course, as Jason says: “It can’t be a Gin Tonic without the big, stemmed wine glass!”

The Tonic Bar

To engage your guests with making their own Gin Tonics, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible area where multiple people can be actively concocting.  Your actual tonic bar can be as minimalist or as expansive as you like.  You can offer only a single gin, vodka or rum, or multiple choices of each.  We include little tasting cups so that our guests can sample the spirits before selecting one.  (The plastic tasting cups were one lifetime supply purchase from Costco – approximately a thousand for $10!)

TonicBar Syrups

Fever Tree, Tonic Syrups for Rum and for Gin

Now for the tonic water.  We like to offer at least one house made tonic syrup.  A small amount of tonic syrup is added to carbonated water in the drink to make tonic water, (our recipes are here).  These syrups are designed for a specific spirit and make wonderful cocktails.  However, we have found that while our guests like it when we make one these for them, when left on their own, they will usually opt for bottled tonic water.   We continue to offer the tonic syrup, but we always include one premium brand of tonic water – usually Fever Tree.  We also use the small bottles so that there is no measuring required.

However many choices of spirit you offer, don’t skimp on the garnishes.  Arrange bunches of fresh herbs in single old fashioned glasses, with small bowls of sliced citrus and berries.  If some of your herbs are less than attractive, pinch off the leaves and present them in small bowels as well.  Release your imagination with the variety of flavors, colors and textures of garnishes and the containers in which you offer them.  The more inviting the presentation, the more your guests will be encouraged to experiment and enjoy their mixology talents. Here are some suggestions:

TonicBar Garnishes 1

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices

  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Thyme/Lemon Thyme
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers

 

TonicBar 2

Set up your Tonic Bar where it is easily accessible

TonicBar Recipe

Little recipe placards make it easy for your guests

As noted above, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible location.  We use a round table.  Set out your bottles of spirits, a few bottles of tonic water along with a bottle opener, and garnishes.  You might want to set your glassware and ice bucket on a separate counter.  This will minimize the chance that they get knocked over while someone is reaching for ingredients.  We always include a written recipe with suggestions of garnishes for each spirit.  This will eliminate any anxiety your guests may have over not knowing what to make.  You want to keep it simple and fun.

TonicBar GnT

A knife and cutting board allows guests to prepare their own garnishes

To get things started, make up a Gin Tonic so everyone can see how it’s done.  Those guests can then show any late comers when they arrive.  You will then only need to refresh any garnishes, tonic water bottles and ice.

 

Recipe for Gin, Rum or Vodka Tonics

  • 2 oz Spirit – either Gin, Rum or Vodka
  • 6 oz. Tonic Water (1 1/2 oz Tonic Syrup and 4 1/2 oz. Carbonated Water)
  • Optional dash of simple syrup for gin or vodka/demerara simple syrup for rum
  • Garnish – see below

 Instructions:

  1. Add ice cubes to a large, stemmed wine glass
  2. Add garnishes except for any citrus peels for expressing
  3. Add your Spirit of choice
  4. Slowly add the Tonic Water (or Tonic Syrup followed by the carbonated water).
  5. Express any citrus peels and serve

Suggested Garnishes:

Gin or Vodka

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass

Rum

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers
  • Lemon Grass

 

Rum and Tonic

Rum Tonic with House Made Tonic Syrup

We have found that our guests enjoy the opportunity to experiment with the Tonic Bar.  By offering multiple choices of gin, vodka and rum along with a myriad of garnishes, you enable your guests to explore a range of Gin Tonics.  Our guests tend to lower the amount of spirit in each drink thus allowing themselves to try multiple variations.  If some of your guests may be a little more stayed or if you just wish to expand the offerings, set out a few old fashioned glasses so someone can make a standard Gin or Vodka and Tonic.  Throw in a bottle of vermouth and martini glasses and your guests can head down that road.  As always, we offer self serve wine and beer along with non-alcohol options.

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!