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!





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!


 




Chocolate Simple Syrup

This is like eating a 97% cacao chocolate bar.  Only a touch sweet.  You can use this as a substitute for Simple Syrup in any cocktail that has chocolate.  For some examples of chocolate cocktails using this syrup go here.  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.



Mixology Monday XC

Mixology Monday

Mixology Monday

Golden Kiss

Golden Kiss

This month’s Mixology Monday theme is “Perfect Symmetry.”  Hosted by Southern Ash, the idea is to find a balance between two related liquors or liqueurs.  His examples included sweet and dry vermouth, bourbon and rye, gin and vodka, and tequila with mezcal.  I would like to offer two drinks this month.  The first, a bit of a cheat on vermouth and vermouth, is the Golden Kiss.  A blend of Lillet Blanc and Kina L’ Avion D’ Or with dry curaçao.   Of course Kina Lillet, of 007 fame, is no longer available, so combining Lillet with a quinquina makes some sense, (to me anyway.)  I have been playing with Suze and Kina L’ Avion D’ Or so the segue to the Golden Kiss was simple.  The Lillet and Kina L’ Avion D’ Or share the fruity taste of orange, marmalade and apricot.  While the Lillet has a floral note, the Kina L’ Avion D’ Or has the bitterness of cinchona.  Together with the dry curaçao, they play together nicely.  I originally used Suze instead of the dry curaçao, and if you like bitterness, I would suggest you try it, but it will be bitter.  Here is the recipe:

  • 2 ozs. Chilled Lillet BlancLilletBlancAvio d OrPierre-Ferrand-Curacao
  • 2 ozs. Chilled Kina L’ Avion D’ Or
  • 1 oz. Dry curacao such as Pierre Ferrand
  • 3 or 4 frozen strawberries
  1. Combine all ingredients in a chilled champagne flute
  2. Serve with the strawberries as ice cubes

My primary offering is the Autumn Spirit. This drink combines Irish whiskey with American single malt whiskey and bittersweet burnt honey. I finished it with Fees Brothers Whiskey Barrel- Aged Aromatic Bitters and served it neat in a brandy snifter.

For the whiskeys, I used Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey and St Georges Single Malt Whiskey. The Tullamore Dew has the earthy, grassy flavors of Irish whiskey with the flavors of fruit, (apricot, pineapple, raisin) and wood. The St Georges has a forward almond flavor with a floral nose and the taste of cocoa. Having been aged in similar casks (bourbon, sherry and port) the wood flavors blend nicely.

Being partial to bitters forward old fashioneds, I thought that burnt honey syrup would be fun to try with whiskey. The burnt honey, which I burned to a dark coffee color, brought out some of the wood while the honey brought along the floral and grassy notes. The cinnamon, spice and wood flavors of the Fees Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Aromatic Bitters enhanced the earthiness, cocoa and fruit of the whiskeys.St Georges Whiskey Tullamore Dew

  • 1 oz. Tullamore Dew 10 year old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz. St Georges Single Malt Whiskey
  • ½ oz. burnt honey syrup (see below)
  • 10-12 drops Fees Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Aromatic Bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a brandy snifter
  2. Serve neat

    Autumn Spirit

    Autumn Spirit

I obviously like this drink. I want to thank Joel at Southern Ash for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday XC and for inspiring me to try these combinations.

Burnt Honey Syrup

Burnt Honey Syrup

Burnt Honey Syrup

Equipment:

  • Large pot – 8 qts
  • Long sleeve jacket/apron/chef’s jacket
  • Pair of heavy heat proof gloves

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Grade A Honey
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. In a large pot with steep sides, heat the honey over high heat stirring frequently. Note: the honey will foam and multiply several times in volume, so use at least an 8 qt pot.
  2. When the honey begins to boil, about 3 minutes, begin stirring constantly. The foam will be so thick that you will only see the color of the honey in the spoon.
  3. Continue to boil, lowering the temperature if needed to keep control of the foam, until the honey is dark brown to black – about 12 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the water. WARNING: the water will spit molten honey onto exposed skin or your eye. Keep adding water, stirring constantly until incorporated.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  6. Store in the refrigerator.



Passion Fruit Syrup

  • 1 part passion fruit puree – Goya brand available in Mexican Markets or large grocery stores
  • 1 Part simple syrup
  1. Combine and store in glass bottle for a few days refrigerated



Don’s Mix

As in Donn Beach

Total Time: 2 1/2 hours

Makes up to 6 cups

  • 2 parts white grapefruit juice
  • 1 part cinnamon syrup – see below
  1. Mix, bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Infused Syrup

  • 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar or WheyLow
  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 min.
  3. Remove from heat, cover and allow mixture to stand for 2 hours
  4. Strain and bottle
  5. Keep refrigerated



Grenadine

Grenadine is made from pomegranates, not cherries.  It is supposed to be red.  If you boil this, it will be brown.  There is no need to reduce the juice on the stove.  Heat it just enough to dissolve the sugar, no more.  You can use Whey Low, but it will not be as sweet.Pomegranate
  • 2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 4 cups sugar or 2 cups Whey Low
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 2 oz. pomegranate molasses
  • Handful dried hibiscus flowers (optional)
  1. In a sauce pan, slowly heat juice and sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Do not allow to boil.
  2. Add hibiscus flowers, if using, and simmer on very low for 10 min.
  3. Remove from heat, fish out and discard the Hibiscus leaves, and add rose water and molasses.
  4. Allow to cool and decant into a glass bottle.
  5. Keep refrigerated.



Tonic Water (Quinine Syrup)

I mucked around with this and finally went back to the original Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s version.  He has a new version that uses a tincture of the cinchona bark.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like a good idea.  I have tried it and prefer it to this recipe.  Check out the new version here, but this original isn’t bad at all!  I probably don’t use quite as much lemongrass.  This with 209 Gin is unbelievable!

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped lemongrass (roughly one large stalk)
  • ¼ cup powdered cinchona bark
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice berries
  • ¼ cup citric acid
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup of agave syrup for each cup of liquid
  1. Combine ingredients, except agave, in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve, coffee filter, cheese cloth, Pur Filter or all of these until your liquid is as clear and free of sediment as possible.
  4. Once you’re satisfied with the clarity of your mix, heat it back up on the stove top or microwave, and then add ¾ cup of agave syrup to each cup of your hot mix.
  5. Stir until combined, and store in the attractive bottle of your choice.

You now have a syrup that you can carbonate with seltzer water. Tonic water is ¾ oz. Quinine Syrup to 2 oz. soda water.

To assemble a gin and tonic, use ¾ ounce of syrup, 2 ounces of gin and 2 ounces of soda water over ice.




Lemon or Lime Sour

I prefer a ratio of 2:1 juice to simple syrup.  I have seen 1:1 and 3:1.  If you like sour/tartness, reduce the simple syrup and/or add more juice.  If you like it sweeter, do the opposite.  Also, since fruit varies in flavor, always taste your mix and adjust accordingly.

If I am making only 1 or 2 drinks, I just use a 2:1 juice : simple syrup.  When we are entertaining, I make up a bottle that morning.  It will begin to degrade after a day.

  • 1 cup Simple syrup
  • Either:
    • 2 cups fresh lime juice or
    • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 4.5 Tbls. pasteurized egg white – optional see Note
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or bottle.
  2. Add additional fruit juice or simple syrup to taste.
  3. It is ready for immediate use and will keep, refrigerated for a day.

Note: Adding egg white will add depth and create very frothy drinks when shaken or blended.  You can substitute 1 ½ fresh egg whites if your not worried about salmonella.




Sweet and Sour Mix

This puts anything you could buy in a bottle to shame.  If you like sour/tartness, reduce the simple syrup and/or add more juice.  If you like it sweeter, do the opposite.  Also, since fruit varies in flavor, always taste your mix and adjust accordingly.

  • 1 cup Simple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4.5 Tbls. pasteurized egg white – optional see Note
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or bottle.
  2. Add additional fruit juice or simple syrup to taste.
  3. It is ready for immediate use and will keep, refrigerated for weeks.

Note: Adding egg white will add depth and create very frothy drinks when shaken or blended.  You can substitute 1 ½ fresh egg whites but your mix will not keep longer than a day or two.