Icy Fingers

IcyFingers

I had read about freezing martinis and thought it would be fun to try.  Frozen martinis are nothing new, but my various recipes turned into an interesting experiment.  Just to set things straight, a “frozen martini” is not a slushie like a “frozen margarita.”  It is a batched martini, placed in a bottle and put in the freezer.

So, why freeze a martini?  Well, a frozen martini is colder than ice and bone dry with a silky-smooth mouth feel.  As the temperature of a drink decreases, so do the flavors of sweet, sour, and bitter, while the taste of salt or brininess increases.  Herbal and floral flavors also change with some increasing and others decreasing. These changes can be amazing – both good and bad!  More on that in a minute.

Classic Dry Martini with olives on black background. CopyspaceBatching cocktails makes sense for events, pop-ups and even when entertaining at home. The ability to pour a craft cocktail from a bottle really helps when you are “in the weeds” bartending.  It’s also nice at home when you would like a little more but don’t want to make a whole martini.

There are a couple of caveats. First is your freezer. Even if you have a commercial freezer, you need to have a freezer thermometer. The temperature needs to remain stable at around 50 F.  A temperature of 00 – 70 F will allow you to serve a cocktail at 25%-30% ABV.  Prior to attempting to freeze your martinis you need to measure your freezer’s temperature at various times of the day.  It will probably be coldest in the morning when it hasn’t been opened.  The coldest temperature is the one you will use to calculate your batches’ ABV.

The second caveat is that liquids lowered to subfreezing temperatures tend to form ice. There are a few things you can do to make this occur less often.

Martini cocktail on counter bar.

  • Keep the ABV close to 30%. This will give you a little margin of error.
  • Shake the bottle really well to thoroughly mix your batch before freezing.
  • Avoid bumping or jarring the bottle once it’s frozen.
  • Use a screw cap or cage top bottle. Don’t use a bottle with a cork.  Removing the cork will create a slight vacuum in the bottle.  Enough to turn the batch to ice.

When your batch does ice, (and it will happen), just set it on the bar and let it warm up.  Add a little gin and refreeze the batch.

When selecting your gin, I recommend a London Dry.  At least choose something that is not overly herbal or floral.  I’ve settled on Botanist.  The subtle salinity really works when frozen.  For an example of what doesn’t work, I tried Gompers Gin.  I really like Gompers.  It makes a great Martini or G&T.  But there is a subtle flavor of pear in Gompers that when frozen, overwhelms every other flavor.  So much for that batch.

House Martini SignOur recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Botanist Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Bianco Vermouth
  • Short dash Olive Bitters

For a 500 ml Batch with a freezer set to 50 F, this calculates to:

  • 300 ml Gin
  • 50 ml Dry Vermouth
  • 50 ml Bianco Vermouth
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 dashes Olive Bitters

Use this spread sheet to calculate your batch volumes:  ABV Batch Freeze Calc

A 20% dilution will make the drink a little strong but allows you to freeze it without icing.  The spread sheet’s freezing calculation is only accurate for an ABV of 20% – 34%.  It uses the fact that the freezing point of alcohol is a strait line in that ABV range.

Lastly, remember to freeze your glassware!

To serve:

  1. Pour desired volume of Frozen Martini into a frozen cocktail glass
  2. Garnish with olives

Cheers!




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!


 




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!


 




The Wellington

The Wellington

The Wellington

Treaty Oak Distilling is aging their gin in whiskey barrels to create their Waterloo Antique Gin.  This is truly a unique gin.  It has the sweet caramel nose that you would expect from the barrel aging but with the addition of the herbaceous input of gin.  The flavors are citrus, spice and herbs with a finish of charred oak that is long and smooth.   We combined this with Italian vermouth and Amaro.

 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Waterloo Antique GinWellington
  • 1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Averna Amaro
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the lemon peel over the drink and float the peel

Cheers!




G-n-Tini

GnTiniI think that Fords Gin cries out for grapefruit.  It so happens that grapefruit is one of the primary flavors in Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s tonic recipe.  His quinine syrup, that you can add to club soda to make tonic water, is simple and takes less than an hour to make.  I thought that including the quinine syrup directly with the drink would make an interesting bitter sweet addition.  I believe I was correct!  Here’s the recipe:

G-n-Tini

  • Fords Gin1 1/2 oz. Fords Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Quinine Syrup – see here
  • Grapefruit peel for garnish
  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the grapefruit peel over the drink and float the peel

Cheers!




National Create a Vacuum Day!

shaker-girlFebruary 4 is National Create a Vacuum Day.  So, in cocktalian fashion, you need to create a vacuum today!  Ever wonder why your cocktail shaker is so hard to open after you’ve shaken your drink?  As you shake your drink with ice, the liquid and air in the shaker cool and contract – causing a vacuum to form.  This is what holds the shaker together and makes it hard to open.

Thus, you can make your very own vacuum.  Now try out a daiquiri, margarita, sour or something new, and SHAKE IT UP, BABY!!!  Here are a few suggestions:

The Z

The Z

The Z

This is one of our favorite daiquiris.  Simple, fresh ingredients and you can feel the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the surf!  Hemingway, here we come.

Get the recipe here

Ten Four

Ten Four

Ten Four

Combine fresh cinlantro and jalapeno with the magic of Chartreuse and Cinco Vodka.  Need a little Grover Washington to go with that?

Get the recipe here

 

The Mayahuel

mayahuel_codex_rios

The Mayahuel

Mayahuel was the Aztec Goddess of the maguey of which the agave is a type.  She was the mother of the “400 rabbit” gods of drunkenness.  This margarita plays on the agave with tequila, agave orange liqueur, and agave nectar.

Get the recipe here

Whiskey Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Belle Meade Sour

Smooth, vanilla, caramel, smoke and all of the other wonders of bourbon combined with sweet/tart lemon.  Now we’re talking!

Get the recipe here

 

 

 

So, honor the day and create a few vacuums!

Cheers!




Lido Martini

This drink plays on the faint cucumber note in Hendrick’s and doubles down with the herbal Chartreuse.  Allowing the ice cubes to muddle the cucumber in the shaker, produces just the right flavor intensity.  Unless, of course, you want your cocktail to taste like a salad!

  • Lido1 ½ oz. Hendricks’ Gin
  • ¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • ¼ oz. Chartreuse
  • 3 -4 thin slices of English Cucumber
  • Lemon Zest for Garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except the lemon zest in a shaker with ice cubes (not crushed). Shake for 30-45 sec.
  2. Double strain into chilled coup or martini glass and express the lemon zest. Float the zest.



Chocolate Martini

The hardest part about this drink is rimming the glass.  Plus you can easily play with this by subbing vanilla or orange vodka, etc.

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Frangelico
  • 1 oz. Creme de Cacao, preferably white
  • Optional chocolate for rimming glass – see note
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass

Note:  Here are a few ways to rim a glass for this drink:

  1. Use dark or semi sweet chocolate and melt with a small amount of water.  Allow to cool slightly, then dip the glass rim into the melted chocolate.  After all excess chocolate has dripped off, set the glass upright in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Use melting chocolate.  Melt the chocolate as per package instructions.  Allow to cool slightly, then dip the glass rim into the melted chocolate. This will stay hard at room temperature and can also be used in a small squirt bottle to actually decorate the glass.
  3. Use finely chopped dark or semi sweet chocolate.  Moisten the rim of a dry, chilled glass with water or vodka and dip into the chocolate.
  4. Use black decorating sugar.  Moisten the rim of a dry, chilled glass with water or vodka and dip into the chocolate.



Dark Chocolate Martini

This works best if you chill or freeze the vodka.  Makes a fun Halloween concoction.

  • Raw sugar
  • Finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 oz. chilled vodka
  • 2 oz. chocolate liqueur such as Godiva or Starbucks
  • 1 dash orange juice
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Combine sugar and chocolate.
  3. Empty and dry the glass then moisten rim with orange juice or water and coat with mixture.
  4. Combine vodka, chocolate liqueur and orange juice in a mixing glass with ice
  5. Stir to thoroughly chill, but do not over dilute.
  6. Strain into rimmed glass
  7. Garnish with an orange wedge



Vodka Martini

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • ½ oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash rhubarb bitters
  1. Chill cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass