Issue No.026 “Tails” from the Bookworm “Moby Dick”

 

was a dark and stormy night , the wind howled and waves leapt from the ocean muffling the sounds of the sirens as they tried to drag us onto the rocks. I grabbed my blanket closer round me, my stomach grumbling reminded me of my last supper before I left fair Nantucket Isle and how I wished I could be back on those distant shores, aside a fire , drink in hand. From below decks I could hear the clump clump as the Captain’s leg hit the wooden floor, the man was pacin, he was ready for the fight that lay ahead of him, preparing to meet his maker by way of the giant white jaws that lurked deep within the bowels of the sea below…..

I recently happened upon a thought as I lay in my bed reading myself to sleep, (no not of giant white jaws) I thought of so many books containing such rich and vivid stories , journeys of great explorers, tales of love lost and treasure found, so many books, so little time, how can I make time to read them and still get work done? My head is always stuck in a book searching for inspiration, flavor combinations, culinary techniques yet I rarely have the chance to sit and have a quiet moment with a story that sweeps me off my feet into its pages (I’m not a kindle reader), I love ink and paper, the feel , the smell of it is always the invitation to my journey of ravishing a book usually ten chapters at a time. I’ve been suffering from artists block for a few months, trying to find something interesting to write about has been a bit of a headache, I love writing and getting my ideas down in black and white so I thought rather than struggle, I’d take some time out over the summer to get back to reading the stack of neglected books that have been hovering in the corner like Boo Radley waiting to be noticed and loved. I realized as I was reading in my half asleep state that the book in my hands held a key to another journey of discovery, the book in question was Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”, it was peppered with scenes of drinking and eating, parties and mayhem, I can’t say I was armchair traveling since I was lying down , more like futon surfing vicariously through the story and then my lightbulb moment hit, how about exploring Hemingway’s Spain in the book through drink and flavors, the story as my muse. I scribbled the thought down and then swiftly drifted off to the land of bedfordshire.

So its taken me some time to get back to The Cup, my first task was finishing off that first book , the ideas came thick and fast all through it, Saffron gin & tonic, Jamon and sherry bloody mary, amongst a few others. Each month my aim is to complete a book and find flavor inspiration from it , I’m still tweaking those Spanish flavored drinks and they’ll be with you shortly but in the meantime I’ve charted the journey of Captain Ahab as he travels the oceans hell bent on destroying one giant fish, Moby Dick.

Captain’s Log:  setting sail and on to battle; Nantucket/Cape Cod

Nantucket, known affectionately as the little grey lady of the seas was the capital of the whaling industry back in Melville’s day, its where the ill-fated Pequod’s journey begins. I imagine cobbled streets , gas lamps and dark, damp, fire lit inns , air thick with pipe smoke and tall tales of the one that got away ( fish that is). The classic Cape Codder cocktail is pretty much vodka and cranberry juice, refreshing and sweet enough to mask the burn of alcohol as it heads to yer belly , its pretty much a blank canvas that could do with a little enhancing. I eat cranberries once a year, Thanksgiving is pretty much it and when I think cranberry I usually associate stuffing (or is it dressing?) as its companion , thyme, sage, maybe some rosemary and isn’t there a little bit of spice usually in that cran jelly, like cloves and maybe orange?

The Little Grey Lady of the Sea

1 1/2 oz sage & thyme infused vodka

3/4 oz allspice dram

1/2 oz ginger syrup

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz Dolin dry vermouth

2 drops vanilla extract

3 dashes orange bitters

6 fresh cranberries

thyme twigs to garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, styling by The Cup

 

Captain’s log: we spy palm trees and many a small  island; Arroz Islands/ The Caribbean

So like any good drink smith the Caribbean conjures up quickly the thought of dark and spicy rum, Tiki drinks and Navy Grog. Navy grog was invented it is said by a British Admiral Edward Vernon,sometime in 1740, Navy strength rum was added to water to dilute it,sometimes mixed with lime and sometimes drank with gunpowder . The watering down of the rum prevented it from igniting the gunpowder aboard ships but it also improved the taste of the rancid water stored aboard ships on long journeys, the lime prevented scurvy and gave rise to the nickname of the British “Limeys”. Beachbum Berry ( bar tender Jeff Berry) invented his own “grog” back in the eighties inspired by the original but adding sweeter flavors taken from the Islands themselves, my own take on it below uses  smokey mezcal adding earthiness to balance out all the sweetness.

Kill-Divil’s Grog

1 1/2 oz mezcal

1/2 oz dark rum

1/2 oz pineapple gomme ( I used Liebers, really tasty and rich)

1/2 oz orgeat (Wilks & Wilson do a really nice floral version)

1 oz lime juice

3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera sherry ( dont skimp, find this , its heady and raisiny and full of delicious spicy fruit)

1 oz egg white

3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters

dust of mole powder for garnish ( recipe follows)

 

Mole Powder recipe

1 /2 cup slivered almonds toasted on a dry skillet

1/2 cup black sesame seeds also toasted on a dry skillet

1 cup Dutch Process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon guajillo chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground star anise

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon

Let your almonds and sesame seeds cool a bit then blitz them in a food processor pulsing until not quite complete powder. Add the cocoa powder and spices and pulse again just to incorporate everything together. Store in an airtight jar , works well on drinks as well as ice cream.

 

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by The Cup

For the drink:

add everything to your shaker except for garnish plus 1 small ice cube, whip shake for about 10 seconds to wake up the strands of egg white and get them nice and frisky . Add 3-4 more ice cubes and shake for about 20 seconds more. Stain into a  chilled vessel of choice and dust over mole powder .

 

Captain’s Log: we round Cape Horn and onto the bitter Atlantic ocean

Situated at the southern most tip of Chile, Cape Horn is the last point of land that a ship will see before heading off into the vast Atlantic, the East Indies and Africa. The National drink of Chile is  the grape based Pisco, there is much debate as to where Pisco originated, Chileans and Peruvians claim its invention. Chile also produces some beautiful wines, earthy and peppery. The drink below is inspired by the classic Jack Rose cocktail which uses AppleJack ( a type of apple brandy) and grenadine and the flavors of Chilean grapes.

Pequod Sour

1 1/2 oz Alta Del Carmen Chilean Pisco

1 oz Chilean red wine such as a Syrah

3/4 oz grenadine ( I used Wilks & Wilson)

3/4 oz lime juice

drop of rosewater

drop of vanilla extract

3 dashes peychauds bitters

1 oz egg white

black pepper and strawberry lambic to garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by the Cup

Dry shake all of your ingredients except for pepper and ale in your tin (that is without ice) for 20 seconds,  add 4 ice cubes and shake again for a further 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled vessel of your choice , top with a splash of the lambic ale and a couple of turns of fresh black pepper.

 

Captain’s Log:We spy land this fair mornin.  We head for The Cape of Good Hope in search  of vittles .

After leaving the Americas and sailing east across the Atlantic  the next bit of land the doomed Pequod would have hit would be South Africa, and  the Cape of Good Hope that stretches out into the ocean like the claw of an eagle readying itself to pick up prey. Part of  Cape Town, the Hope just like the Horn in Chile is a marker on most sea farers maps, a milestone of the seas. South Africa and in particular Cape Town is known for its great wines ,its love of Barbecue  and smoked meats. For me there’s no better partner to BBQ than beer and whiskey, in particular Bourbon. Bourbon is often added to BBQ sauce to add vanilla and woody spices and beer used as a marinade to tenderize steak. I figured I would use both  for this Capetonian inspired Old Fashioned . Here it is hidden in the jungle waiting to pounce on your thirst !

Fedallah’s Old Fashioned

2 oz smoked Bourbon ( I used  a smoking gun but you can add a couple of drops of liquid smoke instead, just don’t get heavy handed with it)

3/4 oz lager simple syrup ( reduce a bottle of good lager beer down to half then add equal parts cane sugar for a spin on simple syrup)

3 dashes MIracle Mile Red Eye bitters ( as the name suggests its strong coffee with a bacon fat wash to finish it)

2 dashes Angostura bitters

flamed orange peel to garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by The Cup

In a chilled rocks glass muddle lager syrup and bitters together , add whiskey and stir a little more before adding your cracked ice. Stir for about 10 seconds, I like my Old Fashioned’s served hot , pretty much meaning slightly diluted allowing the dilution to continue as you drink the cocktail. Peel off strips of orange peel and spritz their oils over a match or lighter allowing the flamed oils to drop onto your drink. Rub the zest on the rim of your glass and pop into the cocktail for added aroma.

 

Captain’s Log: We follow the coast of the East Indies, the air full of salt, spice and fruit.

The East Indies is a term used to describe the swath of lands from South to Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, all countries that create some of the most flavorful and aromatic foods. By this time on Ahab’s journey I would Imagine him needing somewhat of a strong and long drink to kill the pains that ail him, from his phantom leg to the bitterness and anger in his heart. Its also here that the giant Moby Dick makes  his home , Ahab so close to his Nemesis but still out of reach. The Painkiller cocktail is my starting point for this coconut laced drink.

Garnish based on ceremonial Temple offerings and the Southeast Asian jungle.

Temple of Solace (Ahab’s Advil)

(if these portions seem large to you  , bear in mind that its being poured into this Thai Coconut shell which yields around 12 oz of liquid, if not using the coconut shell the drink can be split between two  drinking vessels)

2 oz toasted coconut infused white rum ( toast 500 grams of desiccated coconut in your oven, add to 1 750 ml bottle of white rum and infuse for 2-3 days, strain before using)

1/2 oz blackstrap  molasses rum ( such as Cruzan)

1/2 oz Jamaican rum such as Smith & Cross

1 oz passion fruit pulp

1 oz orgeat ( I used Wilks & Wilson)

1/2 oz St.Elizabeth  allspice dram,

1 oz lime

1 oz madeira

2 oz coconut milk,

1 oz coconut water

1/4 teaspoon Tahitian Vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by The Cup

Prepare your Thai young coconut by lopping off the top and draining out its guts, mostly coconut water and some coconut meat, carve a large enough hole to place the end of a funnel into.

To make the drink , toss everything into a large tin shaker with 6 ice cubes and shake for about 25 seconds , strain into the funnel/coconut. Top with leaves and flowers of your choice and present with incense and smoked cinnamon sticks if you like.

 

Captain’s Log: The Beast is spied in the Japan Sea

Ahab and his crew finally meet Moby Dick in the Seas off Japan, it is here that both their and Melville’s journey ends. I could not decide which one of these drinks would be a fitting companion to the end  of the story so am using both, the first based on a sherry cobbler and the second my take on a filthy, dirty, briny martini that I imagine Melville diving into once he puts his pen down.  Both drinks star some lovely provisions that I picked up at my local Japanese market.

The Kyoho Cobbler

1 oz manzanilla sherry ( I know, not Japanese)

1 1/2 oz Junmai sake

3/4 oz Avua aged cachaca ( not Japanese either bit works really well with the grapes and shiso)

1 oz martini bianco

1/2 oz gomme syrup such as Liber & Co.

3/4 oz lemon juice

4 shiso leaves

6 Kyoho grapes plus mor for garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by The Cup

Muddle 2 of the shiso leaves with 6 grapes and the gomme syrup for about 5 seconds, add the rest of your ingredients and 5-6 ice cubes and shake for about 20 seconds, dump into a chilled wine glass that has been lined with the remaining 2 shiso leaves, garnish with an abundance of Kyoho grapes for maximum drama.

Melville’s Postscript 

1 1/2 oz Ford’s gin

1 1/2 oz dry sake

1/4 oz Umeboshe vinegar

3 dashes Mircale Mile celery bitters

2-3 Umeboshe plums for garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith, arranged by The Cup

In a mixing glass add all of your ingredients plus 6-7 cracked ice cubes, stir for 30 seconds then strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with Umebsohe plums in the bottom of your glass.

 

“Gone Fishin”

 

he Cup will be back shortly I promise.  I’m not one that can just crank out drinks or ideas just for the sake of cranking and I felt I was getting a wee repetitive so am taking a time out to research and gather inspiration for an upcoming series called “Bar & Books”

 

Next Issue…..the Tale of Moby Dick

Issue No.025 ” My Heart belongs to Daddy”

 

up, I know Miss Monroe is singing about her sugar daddy, she’ll gladly flirt but won’t lift her skirt for any laddy. The Daddy in question  here is my Pops who you may remember my mentioning in previous posts, Popsi’s name was  Iggy, Ignacy to be exact. He passed away from the big C on June 8th 2001, as you can imagine it utterly destroyed me, he was my hero, my light, my anchor , my all. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember him, I had dog tags made for me that I wear daily as a reminder of him worn close to my heart, I’m a sentimental fool but you see  like any little girl I think my Popsi was the best dad that walked the earth. Of course   there were times when he drove me absolutely bonkers like the day I came home from college looking for my cool ass beaten up leather motorcycle jacket only to discover he had cleaned out my closet of anything he thought was unladylike and pretty much burned all of it!!!?  Or the time he wouldn’t let  fourteen year old me hang out with the pot smoking boy of nineteen I was dating one summer so I sneaked out anyway and had the entire police force of my home town looking for me , I could handle my shit , I was a mature kid,  I knew when to say no   but to my Pops I was his baby that he needed to protect forever and ever amen till time ends and hell freezes over!  My ode this issue and for Father’s day is for  Iggy Mlynarczyk  , musician, day dreamer, soldier, life saver, father and best friend  .

We had a curious journey together the 33 years that I spent with him, filled with fairy tales  and make believe that helped me out of the darkest places when I was a kiddie. He taught me to follow my dreams and my heart as he had not been able to, to  be respectful, keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth closed until it was needed. My pops was a farm boy, one of nine kids being raised  in rural Poland  like so many other families   eking out an existence where they could,when the kids reached eleven or so they were sent out to work for other farmers to bring money back to the house, it was on one of these excursions  during WWII Popsi’s  sister who I’m named after was captured by the Gestapo, a petrified farmer trying to save his own kids  gave her away as a migrant gypsy, my dad saw the scene from the field he was working in and ran to her aid, he  begged them not to take her  knowing she was not strong enough to survive the ordeal instead he struck a deal and they took him instead  to a camp first in Poland then later to Germany where  he was forced to work digging ditches for burying bodies and farming the land.  During his time there he made friends with a German girl called Gisella who would sneak him food from her family table and books to read to teach him the German language. After  a few years of watching , waiting and building courage Pops hatched an escape plan  aided by his friend , so his story goes she helped him  and two others escape . Dad was just 17 , the other two were not as lucky as young Iggy, they were captured and shot as an example to the rest of the inmates, Pops journeyed on alone through a bitter winter  traveling on foot from Germany to France picking clothes and boots off dead soldiers and existing on frozen roots and other peoples throw aways.  One morning he found himself staring into Bakery  shop window, it was early enough that there were no people around except the baker who took pity on him and beckoned Pops in, so hungry he  stopped for a second not knowing if he would get turned in but that gnawing ache in his belly lead him forward through the door, the baker turned out to be one more of his guardian angels, he fed him, gave him clothes and a hot bath and a few days later he was picked up by  the French  resistance who transported him to an  RAF  hospital  close by . There he was enlisted in his Majesty’s service and  eventually he was sent to the UK  , Pops was taught to play the Piano and in his barracks and would play at the town hall dances in Lincolnshire where he shared more than one dance with a very young Miss Thatcher, it was also in that town that he had his heart broken by a young lass who’s own father forbade her to mix with a foreigner . In his early thirties he moved to a small town in Derbyshire ( home to Miss Austen’s Darcy) where he met and married  my mum, not a long union but one that produced two very different kids, my brother first then in 67 myself . According to family stories Pops suffered a serious mental breakdown, not surprisingly the trauma of his earlier life finally caught up with him, giving him night terrors and turning him into a ghost, he was further tormented by the barbarian “Doctors” of that time and given the One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest treatment, “healing” by electrocution! I won’t go into the details of how or why my parents divorced, they did when I was about five, it was a nasty experience all around, fights and attempted suicides  turned into a year of custody battles and tugs of war, it was also the first time I ran away from home, I think I was maybe six. Iggy was eventually granted custody of his two willful children and devoted   the rest of his years raising two kids as a single parent, we were his everything and though he had a funny way of showing it  his love was never ending, he never said I love you, or gave us hugs ( not until I was older and forced him into expressing himself) but there were many nights he would sit by my bed side stroking my hair and singing  a Polish “Lulka” or lullaby to get me to sleep.

Pops was never much of a talker, he was however an amazing story teller and  would on occasion after a wee nip of his favorite dram spill his memories for me as a  reminder to be grateful for the life I was given, no wars to fight , food on the table, a roof over my head and a good education were pretty much all he said I needed, boyfriends and rock music were most definitely not part of his prescription .  Since we’re talking booze you know there has to be a link here in my story to some sort of liquid refreshment, yes indeed, the wee nip of Iggy’s truth serum was the Mother of all libations uisige beatha ,  the water of life, fire water whatever you want to call it, commonly known as  Whisky, to be exact that peaty, stinky green bottled monster,  Laphroaig. My first taste came   somewhere back in the early eighties when I was going through my teenage angst years, the bottle was only ever brought out on special occasions and was kept in Iggy’s not so secret, secret stash hole, I would watch my dad sip his glass of amber nectar watching with awe as his face brightened and his smile would erupt, I felt for sure it would cure my blues so I poured myself a glass and retreated to my red painted womb of a bedroom, lighting a clove cigarette and whisky in hand  I thought I was super sophisticated, that is until I choked on the first sip of Laphroaig the rest being spilled on the floor. Times have certainly changed, Islay scotch whisky is now one my preferred tipples, over the years I have learned to love that smoky , briny flavor picked up by smoking the barley over peat moss fires before going off to be distilled .

There’s nothing  unusual about the drinks that follow , but I think the old man would have enjoyed one or two whilst waiting for the horse he backed to win or relaxing reading one of his Louis Lamour Western novels or maybe comforting his troubled memories,   his tastes were pretty simple and classic, Chopin played the theme song to his life, Maggie Thatcher was his dream girl,  when he could scrape his pennies together  meat and two veg were his idea of fine dining, every day I saw him he wore a jacket and tie, pressed pants and shined shoes, at times his socks may have been full of holes but he presented as the perfect put together gent, both inside and out .

Islay be seeing you

1 1/2 oz Laproaig 10

1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum

1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water)

1/2 oz ginger syrup ( fresh ginger juiced and added to a simple syrup)

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz Yuzu juice

 

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss everything into your trusty Boston shaker and add 5 ice cubes, this drink needs a good shaking and the flavors of both the scotch and rum stand up to being well whipped around so shake for about 35 seconds until the drink is ice and chilly . Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, garnish with one or more candies ginger cubes.

when to drink:  whilst watching the horse races  on the telly, as an aid to numb the pain of the local clergyman’s sunday visit, or just for the hell of it!

 

Peat-er & the Wolf 

2 oz Laphroaig 10

1/2 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz ginger syrup

2 oz Theakstons Old Peculiar ale or Newcastle Brown ale ( plus the bottle for topping up)

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

Shake everything except the beer over ice for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled ice filled highball glass and top off with the brown ale

When to drink: After painting the house , fixing the roof, cleaning your daughters closet and building a fire, as a reward for being the Best Dad EVER!

 

 Lincoln’s Peach

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10

1 oz creme de peche

1 oz calvados

3/4 oz maple syrup

1 oz lemon juice

2-3 oz Lapsang Souchong tea chilled ( depending on glass size)

1 ripe peach

2 drops vanilla extract

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Chop half the peach into cubes and put aside for muddling, the other half of the peach needs to be sliced into 1/4″ slices for garnish.

In the bottom of your shaker add the peach cubes, vanilla and maple syrup and muddle, add the rest of your liquid ingredients plus 5 ice cubes to shaker and shake  for about 25 seconds, dump into a chilled glass and top off with more ice, garnish with peach slices.

When to drink: Goes down well after a day spent chasing thunderstorms away with that big stick, unravelling the cat from the washing line, or tending to Aunt Judy’s raucous brood of five.

 

The Old Man’s Fashioned

1 1/2 oz Earl grey tea soaked Laphroaig 10 ( steep 6 tea bags in one 750ml bottle of whisky)

3/4   oz cinnamon simple syrup ( 1 spoon of Vietnamese cinnamon powder steeped for 4-5 hours in hot simple syrup)

1/2 oz  brandy

3 dashes angostura bitters

two orange twists

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Muddle the simple syrup, bitters and 1 orange peel in the bottom of a chilled old fashioned glass, add the whisky and brandy and stir for a few turns. Add a couple of hunks of ice and stir for about 15 seconds to chill slightly but not dilute too much. Spritz over the orange oils from the second twist and rub on the rim of the glass , plop the twist into the glass and sip slowly.

When to drink: As an after bed time story treat,  as a partner to your favorite Spaghetti western or just to warm the cockles of your heart.

 

Cheers to you Popsi , wish you were still around for hugs on this Father’s day! Miss you so so much,  Love always!!!

Issue No. 024 “Bittersweet Symphony”

 

 

 


hat bitter ruby red elixir , something about its balance of bitterness ,sweet and underlying herbal notes had me hooked from the get go. Yes I’m talking about Campari the bitter sorceress that plays so well with others yet always manages to stand out with her own amaroidal voice, I use it in all manner of ways , mixed with lemon lime soda, IPA beer & grapefruit, freeze it into an after dinner palate cleansing treat, or dehydrate it into pink fairy like dust for sprinkling.

There’s a tale out there (maybe tall maybe true) about a  Nobleman also partial to a glass or two of this jewel like temptress, the story goes that  one day around 1919 a certain Count Camillo of Florence , Italy  made a simple request  to his bartender , he needed his usually satisfying Americano cocktail made stronger, the Americano is a highball built over ice consisting of equal parts Campari  and sweet vermouth topped with soda water . The bartender pondered and turned to a bottle of gin, he poured out an equal amount of gin and added it to the glass but this time without soda and finished with a spritz of orange oil. The result was at once bitter and sweet, racy and refreshing and warming and spicy, the color of a deep red treasure  winking across the bar at the Count demanding that he savor it, he became a man bewitched , the bartender named it using Camillo’s last name  and so the Negroni was born.

Who knows why the good Count thought of it, maybe a day of frustrations led him to need something stiffer we shall never know, so happy was he with the result  the Count and his family opened a distillery and made the first pre-packaged version marketed as Antico Negroni ( and you thought bottled cocktails were new!). The Negroni  has become one of the most recognized classic drinks and in many cocktail bars I’ve  auditioned at the first drink I was  asked to make to prove ability. If the bartender shakes it or adds the wrong ratios then its an immediate fail, but get the proportions, garnish  and the chill on the nectar just so and your taste buds will be enveloped in its splendid bittersweet symphony.

Typically drank as an aperitif  , the  bitterness rounded out by a spicy sweet vermouth plus the nerve taming tonic of a good dry gin is the perfect end in my mind to the day or beginning of a great evening,   these days  I’ve seen the Negroni made with Dutch Genever adding a lovely malty finish or turned into a lesser known classic the Boulevardier by subbing out whiskey for the gin, the whiskey I think turns the drink into an after dinner sipper which is fine since the chinoto from the Campari also works as  a digestive aid. The Negroni to me is also the quintessential summer cocktail  and with summer  ( yes time has gone too fast this year) comes Negroni Cocktail week put together by Imbibe magazine and Campari , a seven day celebration of the classic Negroni and its variations, participating bars will donate a portion of Negroni sales to their favorite charities,its also a chance for the bar community to gather together and give something back. If you would like to join in the festivities go here for a list of participating bars in your area, my own list includes The Varnish, Eveleigh, Tasting Kitchen and Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles and Broadway restaurant in Laguna , please also visit us at Ink in West Hollywood where I’ll be serving up our Rapid Barrel aged Negroni sous vide for 2 days, as well as our Boulevardier finished with a splash of lambic ale, or if you’re hearing the call of adventure maybe I’ll hook you up with a hit or two of Campari dust.

And now , without further stories my Ode to the Negroni and all it inspires , but if like me you prefer playing the Hermit from time to time and are not in the mood for playing with others, here’s seven days worth of recipes for you to get your own bitter sweet symphony on with!

monday June 2nd….Start your engines with this lovely smooth Barrel aged Negroni. 

Serves 12 ( or 4 really thirsty peeps)

12 oz Fords Gin

12  oz Noilly Prat or Cocchi Vermouth Di Torrino

12 oz Campari

16 dashes orange bitters

1 barrel stave ( Tuthilltown distillery  in NY sells packs)

orange zest for garnish

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Combine everything in an airtight preferably glass container like a ball canning jar ( a big one) stir and add the barrel stave. Allow to sit in a dark corner of your pad for at least a week, no cheating you need a nice flavor to develop. If you are lucky enough to have access to an Immersion Circulator, toss everything into a large vacuum sealable bag, seal up and sous vide at 55 degrees C for 2 days, let  the bag chill down before decanting into an airtight bottle .

Once ready, pour in 3 oz of batch per person into a mixing glass, add cracked ice and stir for about 30 seconds until a nice chill develops on your glass, strain into chilled ice filled rocks glasses and garnish with an orange twist, feeling fancy, you can flame the twist by setting fire to the expelled oils from the twist.

Tuesday June 3rd….chill out with a Negroni sour

1 1/2 oz Cap Rock gin

3/4 oz Campari

3/4  oz Sweet vermouth of choice

1/2 oz lemon juice

1 oz grapefruit juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

dash rosewater

1 oz egg white

garnish with Campari dust (recipe below)

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything except garnish to a Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for 1o seconds, add 4-5 ice cubes and shake again for 25 seconds or so. Strain into a chilled vessel of choice and sprinkle over a pinch of Campari Dust

 

Wednesday June 4th…round out hump day with Ink’s variation on a Boulevardier

1 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

1 oz Campari

1 oz Cocchi rosa

3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters

a splash of Timmerman’s strawberry lambic ale

garnish with an orange peel

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add spirits only into a mixing glass with cracked ice and stir for 25-30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe glass , add splash of lambic ale and finish with your twist of orange peel.

 

Thursday June 5th….indulge with a Negroni Milk shake (you did Yoga all week you deserve it)

1 1/2 oz  Bols Genever

1 1/2 oz Campari

1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth

1 cup of vanilla ice cream

2 dashes peychauds bitters

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 bar spoon citric solution 10:1 water to citric acid

1/8 oz vanilla extract

Campari dust to finish if you so wish

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to a blender  with 4 ice cubes and blitz for about 15 seconds or until its nice and smooth, pour into a chilled glass of choice, add straw and slurp away!

 

Friday June 6th….get your friday frisk on with this cross between a Negroni, a salty, spicy margarita and a michelada….The Negritalada (perhaps)

3/4  oz of thai chili infused tequila ( if you want a pony kick instead of a ass whooping you can use half spicy and half regular tequila)

3/4 oz Vida Mezcal

3/4 oz Campari

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

1/2 oz agave nectar

1 oz fresh ruby  grapefruit juice

1/2 oz lime juice

a dash of vanilla extract

salt rim and IPA beer to finish

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything except garnish into a your Boston shaker, shake for 25 seconds with 5 ice cubes. Strain into a chilled, salt rimmed highball glass filled with ice, top off with a generous splash of IPA beer.

 

Saturday June 7th….Amp up your weekend with Negroni jello shots and Campari Dust Pixy Stix (or lines depending on your mindset)

For the Jello shots ( you will need to do this in stages giving one layer time to fully set before adding second layer)

Gin layer:

1 x 7 gram packet of  Knox gelatin

1/3 cup of Aviation gin

2/3 cup of lemon lime soda

1 tablespoon cane sugar

1/4 oz rosewater

Campari layer:

1  x 7 gram packet Knox gelatin powder

1/3 cup Campari

1/3 cup sweet vermouth

1/3 cup orange juice

Add gin+rosewater / Campari to a small bowl with the packet of gelatin powder, stir and allow to dissolve for 1 minute, meanwhile in a pan add your lemon lime soda/sweet vermouth+OJ to the heat and heat up to just before simmering. Take off and add lemon lime soda to gin rosewater and vermouth OJ mix to Campari. Stir to incorporate and fully dissolve the gelatin powder, add sugar and stir again dissolving sugar. Let sit for 3-4 minutes then pour into silicone ice cube trays from Cocktail Kingdom filling up to the half way line. Let sit for few minutes then place in the fridge for 3 hours to let fully set. When set repeat with second layer. To extract from tray, warm up a small palette knife with hot water and run around the edges of each cube, gently coax out and , depending on your mood, either gobble up or arrange neatly on serving tray .

 

For Campari Dust

1 cup Campari

1 cup powdered sugar

mix together well to dissolve sugar, I found its quicker to get absolutely all the lumps out if your sieve your sugar first. Add the slurry to a heavy bottomed pan and set onto a medium heat, this part takes some patience since you have to stand and stir the mix whilst it slowly evaporates down to a paste. Once pasty, take off heat and quickly spread out onto a silpat lines baking sheet ,spreading evenly with your trusty palette knife. Add to a very low oven and let it dehydrate over night. Once dry add to your blender and wazz it until it resembles a fine pink powder. Store in airtight container with silicone packets to stop it from clumping . Slurp up through straws, add to your ice cream, milk shakes, sours etc.

 

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

Sunday June 8th….Finish off with a refreshing Negroni Bianco Sgroppino

The Classic Negroni made with white bitters , carbonated  and poured over Campari grapefruit granita

serves 4

For the Campari Granita:

1/2 cup Campari

3 cups strained ruby grapefruit juice

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 oz rosewater

1/4 oz vanilla extract

Add grapefruit juice and sugar to pan and set on heat to dissolve sugar, add to Campari, rosewater and vanilla and stir. Allow to chill before pouring into a metal container that you will then set in the freezer. Every couple of hours you will need to stir the freezing mix to stop ice crystals from forming . When set, cover top with a sheet of parchment paper to protect from freezer burn.

for the Negroni Bianco:

6 oz Aviation gin

6 oz Tempus Fugit Gran Classico

6 oz Dolin blanc vermouth

add everything to a pitcher with a scoop of ice and stir to chill and dilute . Pour into either an ISI gun or a Twist and Sparkle contraption and charge with one CO2 gas charger.

 

shot by the one and only, delightfully talented Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

With all your components ready and your glasses nice and frosty, get an ice cream scoop and portion out a generous scoop of the Campari granita into Coupe glasses, pour over the carbonated Negroni Bianco and garnish with  a twist of grapefruit peel.

 

Cin Cin!!!

Issue No. 023 ” Street Fighting Woman”

 

 

 

he is strong, she is feminine, she can hang with the boys and shoot as well as seduce  the pants off  of bandits, she is La Adelita , the Mexican heroine known to kick ass through the revolution and beyond, a warrior, inspiration and symbol of action for the great nation of Mexico.  My first introduction to this  female super hero was back in the Eighties in a theme bar called “Down Mexico Way” which was as far away from Mexico as you could get,  down London way, she was featured in paintings around the room.  My first taste of Tequila was also in that bar and came from the bar’s super hero the shot girl who carried two bottles of tequila in holsters either side of her and a row of shot glasses in bandoleras draped around her waist, I don’t remember much what she looked like but she was the epitome of La Adelita ,  strong , sassy and in control and I wanted to be her! Beyond  Elizabeth the 1st and Margaret Thatcher the Brits don’t churn out that many strongly vocal women, we’re told as toddlers to be seen and not heard, so to see this chica whooping it up and entrancing all the guys around her was revolutionary to  me.

La Adelita, has become known in Mexican folk lore and popular culture as the gun toting street fighting woman, fighting for her rights and what she believed in, as well as fighting for her man, she was a suffragette long before the term was even invented. This Cinco de Mayo I thought I would  take a minute to celebrate lady Adelita and all that she stands for  with this collection of  Tequila and Mezcal laced drinks .

A little background knowledge first to contemplate whilst you’re mixing, sipping and pistol whipping bad guys…..

Tequila is a regional specific name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila  and in the highlands (Los Altos) of Jalisco. Although tequila is a kind of mezcal, modern tequila differs somewhat in the method of its production, in the use of only blue agave plants, as well as in its regional specificity.

The blue volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year.  Agave tequila grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor.

Once distilled the Tequila can then be left as a silver tequila or aged , Reposado may be rested in oak barrels or casks as large as 20,000 litres, allowing for richer and more complex flavors. The preferred oak comes from the US, France, or Canada, and is usually white oak. Some companies char the wood to impart a smoky flavor, or use barrels previously used with different kinds of alcohol (e.g. whiskey or wine). Some reposados can also be aged in new wood barrels to achieve the same woody flavor and smoothness, but in less time.

Añejos are often rested in barrels previously used to rest reposados. The barrels cannot be more than 600 liters (158 gallons), and most are in the 200-liter  range. Many of the barrels used are from whiskey distilleries in the US or Canada, and Jack Daniels barrels are especially popular.This treatment creates many of the aspects of the dark color and more complex flavors of the añejo tequila. After aging of at least one year, the añejo can be removed from the wood barrels and placed in stainless steel tanks to reduce the amount of evaporation that can occur in the barrels.

 

La Pasionista (based on the popular Batadita fruit drink)

1  1/2 oz silver tequila

3/4 oz Velvet Falernum

1  lime  juice

1 oz coconut milk

the pulp of half a passion fruit

1/2 oz of agave nectar or more if you have a sweet tooth

2 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters

 

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien -Smith

 

Add everything to your Boston shaker with 5 ice cubes,  shake for 25-30 seconds, dump into an ice filled receptacle of your choice, add straw and slurp

 

Santa Sangre

1  1/2 oz thai chilli infused  tequila ( take a bottle of tequila, add 4-5 thai chills and let it sit and get spicy for a day or so)

1 oz lime juice

1 1/2 oz pineapple juice

1/2 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram

3 drops Mexican vanilla extract

6 mint leaves

1/2 oz agave nectar

1/2 oz  Barolo Chinato as a float (from the folks at Cocchi)

 

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien -Smith

Toss the mint leaves into your Boston shaker with the agave and muddle briefly. Add the rest of you ingredients except for the Barolo Chinato and add 5 ice cubes. Shake for 25 seconds and strain into a chilled highball glass, top off with the Barolo , a couple of pineapple leaves and a slice of blood orange.

 

La Pelirroja

1 1/2 oz tequila reposado

1/2 oz Cynar

1/2 verjus rouge

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz demerrera simple syrup (same recipe as simple subbing out demerrera sugar for white)

3/4 oz pomegranite juice

1/8 oz rose water

splash of strawberry lambic ale

garnish with pomegranate seeds

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien -Smith

Add everything to your Boston shaker except for the garnish and the lambic ale, shake for 25 seconds with 5 ice cubes. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, pour over the lambic ale and finish with pom seeds.

 

Mezcal   or mescal,  is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agave Agave ) native to Mexico. The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl mexcalli ,metl  and ixcalli which means “oven-cooked agave”.The maguey grows in many parts of Mexico, though most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. There is a saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink: “para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también” (“for everything bad, mezcal; for everything good, the same”). It is unclear whether distilled drinks were produced in Mexico before the Spanish Conquest .The Spaniards were introduced to native fermented drinks such as pulque, also made from the maguey plant. Soon the conquistadors began experimenting with the maguey plant to find a way to make a distillable fermented mash. The result was mezcal.Today, mezcal is still made from the heart of the maguey plant, called the “piña”, much the same way it was 200 years ago, in most places. In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor.

The maguey was one of the most sacred plants in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and had a privileged position in religious rituals, mythology and the economy. Cooking of the “piña” or heart of the maguey and fermenting its juice was practiced. The origin of this drink has a myth. It is said that a lightning bolt struck an agave plant, cooking and opening it, releasing its juice. For this reason, the liquid is called the “elixir of the gods.” Traditionally, mezcal is handcrafted by small-scale producers. A village can contain dozens of production houses, called fábricas or palenques, each using methods that have been passed down from generation to generation, some using the same techniques practiced 200 years ago.The process begins by harvesting the plants, which can weigh forty kilograms each, extracting the piña, or heart, by cutting off the plant’s leaves and roots. The piñas are then cooked for about three days, often in pit ovens, which are earthen mounds over pits of hot rocks. This underground roasting gives mezcal its intense and distinctive smoky flavor. To further enhance their image of badassdom some mescal distillers add chicken or rabbit bits to their stills to add more savory notes to certain iterations , Chef Jose Andres worked with the folks at Del Maguey together coming up with the brain wave of adding Jamon Iberico to the still, has to be delicious! They suspend the meat inside the still using string and as the vapors rise in the still they pick up the essence of the meat, most noticeable on the finish.

El Gato Negro

1 1/2 oz Vida mezcal

1 oz House Spirits coffee liqueur

1/4 oz Fernet vallet ( Mexican fernet drank after heavy meals)

1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera oloroso sherry

1 oz milk of your choice

1/2 oz Vietnamese simple syrup ( made by steeping 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder in 1000grams hot simple syrup 1:1 ratio)

3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters

3 drops vanilla extract

for the garnish:

Milk foam

8 oz skimmed milk

4 oz egg white

1/4 oz vanilla extract

1 oz cinnamon simple syrup

add everything to an ISI gun canister, charge with 1 No2 capsule and shake before dispensing

Fernet Dust

1 cup of fernet branch or branca mentha

1 cup of powdered sugar

add both to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and stir to dissolve sugar, place onto a medium heat and reduce down until you have a thick spreadable paste.  Spread out onto a silpat and dehydrate for as long as it takes to create a dry cracking texture, in a very low oven or in a dehydrator . My first version took me 12 hours , my second took much longer due to humidity, like baking you have to factor in weather conditions . Once crackable, remove from silpat and place into  a vita prep blender, pulse at high speed until you have a nice fine powder. Store in airtight container with a couple of silicone packets to stop it from clumping ( buy at baking suppliers)

For the drink:

Except for the coffee liqueur , add your liquid ingredients to your Boston shaker, if you want more coffee flavor add a shot of chilled espresso. Shake for 25 seconds with 4 ice cubes, strain into a chilled glass , then pour in the coffee liqueur, since its density is heavier it will sink to the bottom of the glass creating the layered look above. Finish with a shot of milk foam from your ISI and  sprinkle over the fernet dust  serving a wee bit on the side for adding to the drink or licking off your fingers.

 

El Guerro

1 oz Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal

1 oz scotch such as Balvenie or Auchentoshen

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz agave

1 oz cocchi americano

4 cucumber slices for muddling

pinch of maldon smoked salt

pinch of fresh black pepper

 

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien -Smith

Add everything to your shaker and shake with 5 ice cubes for 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with one big rock of ice, sprinkle over the S&P and garnish with fennel frond or cucumber slices.

 

The  Oaxacan (based on the classic Manhattan)

1 1/2 oz Mezcal

1/2 oz Averna amaro

3/4 oz dry vermouth

1/2 oz  Cynar

2 dashes orange bitters

 

 

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien -Smith

Add all into your mixing glass, stir for 30 seconds over cracked ice until a nice chill develops on the glass. Strain into a chilled coupette or martini glass and garnish with an orange twist spritzing the oils from the twist over the drink.

 

Next Up…..a weeks worth of Negronis

 

Issue No. 022 “I could drink a case of you”

 

ut I would still be on my feet, oh yes I would still be on my feet…

Grandad Joe was I think partially to blame  for my  experiments in all things chemical, he had his lab in our cellar basement, that creepy damp ,dim lit space that housed sacks of potatoes, reams of Encyclopedia Brittanica, the cat when it snowed and shelves upon shelves of bottles filled with ruby red and deep purple fermenting juice.   We were lucky enough to rent an allotment as a kid that come summer was filled with all manner of berries, no grapes mind you but a ton of blackberries, gooseberries, red currants and strawberries, my fingers as a kiddie during those summer months were regularly stained inky purple from over indulgence in sweet , tart blackberries straight from the bush. Back to Gramps, since we had this abundance and there was only so much jam and pie making you could do he decided to start his covert ops down in that dungeon experimenting with fruit wine it was also a chance for him to sneak a crafty fag ( cigarette in case you were wondering). The formula was simple, fruit , sugar and sometimes yeast, sometimes relying on natural yeasts in the air to convert sugar in alcohol . Many a time we would be sitting down to eat dinner and there would be almighty crashes as a bottle had de-corked itself exploding all over the cellar and annihilating many a jam jar. Oh, but when he got it right that fruit wine was dark and ripe and sweet a perfect after dinner sip,had I known about mixing back then I’m pretty sure I’d be making Rebujitos with lemonade and Sparkling  punches.

My intro to real wine came with my first sip of champagne, or to be clearer Babycham , champagne cleverly packaged in 187ml mini bottles , gussied up with pale blue foil and a skipping Bambi, what kid could not resist trying to sneak a wee nip. This one could not and spent several sundays sitting under the table slightly sloshed from drinking the dregs from my Mum’s bottle.

My real career as Wino started though somewhere back in the Nineties when the Windows on the World wine course was forced upon us at a French style bistro in New York’s Village, I got excited to get my nerd on learning about varietals and terroir ( that would be grapes and soil). Not until recently though, say three years ago did I start mixing wine into cocktails, I mean yes I’ve been using wine based vermouth forever and mixing any number of sangria punches for twenty odd summers now, but actually using shots of wine as a component in my drinks is fairly new, as well as using champagne or other bubbles in place of soda water to top off Collins’s and Fizzes. My plan this year, should I get time is to take that love of the grape one step further and try getting my certification as a Sommelier but till then here’s a bunch  of lovely libations  to whet your whistles.

 

Flight of the Humble Bee

1 oz Linie Aquavit ( similar to vodka as its grain based but infused with fennel seed and cumin)

1 oz chamomile infused Dolin blanc vermouth ( add 6 chamomile tea bags to 1 bottle of Dolin)

1 oz Riesling

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 ratio honey to hot water)

1 dash Scrappy’s cardamom bitters

1 oz egg white

bee pollen to garnish

 

Toss all ingredients except for bee pollen in to Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for 10-15 seconds to wake up the strands of the egg white and get them nice and fluffy. Add 4 ice cubes and shake again for about 25 seconds, strain into a chilled glass , scoop out some of the egg white meringue and garnish with bee pollen

 

Sparkle Up

2 oz rose wine

1/2 oz verjus blanc ( the pressed juice of unripened grapes, I use in place of a souring agent such as citrus juice)

1  1/2 oz cucumber infused gin ( I used Aviation which is a little more floral)  allow cucumber to steep in the gin for 48 hours

3/4 oz Nikolai elderflower cordial

bar spoon Salers gentian aperitif

patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

Add everything to a mixing glass and chill down with about 6 ice cubes  stirring for about 20 seconds, this drink needs both dilution and chilling to successfully carbonate. Pour  the chilled mix into either a Twist&Sparkle or ISI chamber. Carbonate with 2 Co2 capsules shaking in between each blast of Co2. Dispense into  chilled rocks filled vessel of choice and garnish with a cucumber slice and  mint sprig.

 

Sour Grapes ( based on a classic New York Sour)

2 oz rye whiskey

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1 oz pink peppercorn infused simple syrup ( steep 1/2 cup or pink peppercorns in 3 cups of simple syrup)

1 oz egg white

1 oz claret, merlot or barolo

Add everything to your Boston shaker except for the red wine, dry shake for 10-15 seconds without ice, add 4 ice cubes and shake for about 25 seconds, strain either into a chilled coupe glass or into a rocks glass filled with  rocks ice cube, pour on the surface the red wine and then spoon out some of the egg white meringue and dust with crushed pink peppercorns.

Verbatim

1  1/2 oz Avua aged Cachaca

1 oz lemon verbena infused Sancerre wine ( leaves should steep for about 48 hours)

1/2 oz verjus blanc

1/2 oz Cynar

 

Patiently shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your mixing glass with 6 ice cubes. stir for about 30 seconds to get nice and chilly then strain into a chilled coupette or martini glass. Garnish with verbena leaf.

 

Next up…..not just another Tequila sunrise

Come together, right now, over me…or them

Dear readers, yesterday the news reached me that the Loving Cup has been nominated as one of six finalists for Best Cocktail blog in the Fifth annual Saveur Food blog awards. I’d love to win, though the competition is pretty bloody stiff! If you would like to help the Cup win please click on the image below and VOTE!!! You have until April 9th.

Good luck to my fellow nominees, I am honored to be amongst you!

 

Issue No.021 “When Irish eyes are smilin”

 

 

ure tis like a morn in Spring…..

 

Ive had a thing about Irish boys since as long as I can remember, my first crush was on a young butcher boy called David, I think  I was nine and he was sixteen, something about those sparkling , twinkly smiling blue eyes would bewitch me and put me under the bumbling idiot spell,  oh and the manly way he would handle a meat cleaver gave me goosebumps all over! Then there’s one of me favorite movies, “The Quiet Man” not because of John Wayne or the lovely Maureen O’Hara  but for the character of Michaleen Flynn, impish, charming, dry humored and totally hilarious, if you have not seen the movie I recommend renting it the next time it pees down with rain, though in the City of Angels you might have to wait a year or two!

Irish boys can go one of two ways, they are either dark and broody like a pint of Guinness or cheeky , lighthearted and play well with others like a wee dram of Jameson, whichever way they go I love them both and any that come in between. March 17th in case you were not aware is the day the Irish commemorate Ireland’s number one son Saint Patrick by wearing Kelly green and having an all out feast, its the only time the Lenten observations are lifted by the Catholic church in Ireland to allow for celebrations to be carried out properly and by properly I mean till they drop or their liver gives in whichever comes first. The other thing I love about the Irish is anything they put their hands to is full of  beautiful, soulful expression, made with thought and care.

For instance lets take a wee gander at the best selling Irish beverage, Guinness. Guinness stout is made from water, barley roast malt extract, hops and brewers yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its dark color and characteristic taste. It is pasteurized  and filtered,making the product requires knowledge in the sciences of microbiology , mycology , bacteriology  and thermodynamics. Despite its reputation as a “meal in a glass”, Guinness only contains 198 calories per  pint  fewer than skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers. Until the late 1950s Guinness was still racked into wooden casks. In the late 1950s and early 1960s aluminum kegs began replacing the wooden casks; these were nicknamed “iron lungs”. Draught Guinness and its canned counterpart contain nitrogen(N2) as well as carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure of dissolved gas is required to enable very small bubbles to be formed by forcing the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic “surge” (the widget in cans and bottles achieves the same effect). The perceived smoothness of draught Guinness is due to its low level of carbon dioxide and the creaminess of the head caused by the very fine bubbles that arise from the use of nitrogen and the dispensing method described above

A brilliant  bit of liquid engineering, right? Then there’s Irish whiskey,  one of the greatest styles of whiskey in the world  and also one of the most ancient. Unfortunately, the 20th Century saw the decline and fall of the Irish whiskey industry. In recent years Irish whiskey has begun to make a comeback. Today, Irish whiskey is the fourth most popular style of whiskey in the world behind scotch, bourbon and Canadian whiskies. Distilling technology came to Ireland earlier than many parts of Europe, probably brought over to the island by missionary monks. The first distillates were called “uisce  beatha”  Gaelic for “water of life”, which was eventually anglicized into the word whiskey that we use today. Currently there are only three functioning distilleries in Ireland producing this Eau de Vie, it is typically distilled three times as opposed to twice which makes it far more smoother and less harsh on the finish.

I hope I am doing them a justice in featuring both these lovely brews in the following selection of celebratory concoctions.

Slainte!

DIY Irish Cream (better than Baileys)

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey such as Jameson

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

1/2 oz simple syurp

1 oz homemade coffee liqueur (recipe below)

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Coffee Liqueur:

(recipe adapted from Serious Eats)

1/4 cup fine ground espresso

2 1/4 cup water (divided)

1 cup turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups light rum

optional rinds of 2 blood oranges

Cold brew the coffee by combining the grounds and 1 1/4 cups of the water into a sealable glass jar, shaking it, then refrigerating the mixture for 12 hours. Strain through a coffee filter into another sealable glass jar.Combine the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let this syrup cool to room temperature. Add cooled syrup, vanilla bean, blood orange rind if using and rum to the glass jar that contains the coffee. Let that mixture steep for 3 days, then remove the vanilla bean and rind and bottle the liqueur.
For the Irish cream:
combine ingredients in a mixing glass with 4 ice cubes and give a good stir to incorporate and chill down, strain into a glass of your choice, over ice or straight up, either way its delightful!

 

Little  Oge Flynn

for the drink:

1 1/2  oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)

2 of good quality  piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor

3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot

4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1 dash of vanilla extract

1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this  and the chocolate are beautiful together)

for the milk foam:

in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister

8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)

1/4 oz vanilla extract

3 oz of egg whites

1 oz 1:1 simple syrup

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top with a generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.

 

Tay & Sympathay

A spin on a White Russian

2 oz Earl grey infused Irish whiskey ( 8 tea bags to one 750ml bottle of whiskey)

1 oz Amaretto ( not very Irish I admit but great with Earl grey)

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 drops vanilla extract

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add all ingredients  except the cream to your mixing glass, stir with 4 ice cubes and strain into a chilled coupette or over 1 large ice cube. If serving up pour the cream slowly onto the back of a spoon into the drink so that it lays carefully on the top, if using an ice cube pour the cream onto the top of the rock and it will cover the surface and float at the top.

 

Barefoot in the grass

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey

1 oz  sorrel juice

3/4 oz St.Germain

1/4 oz fresh yuzu juice ( sub lemon if you cant find, I get at a Japanese market)

1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water)

3/4 Floc de Gascogne ( an aperitif wine, use Lillet blanc in a pinch)

1 oz egg white

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your Boston shaker and dry shake  without ice for 10-15 seconds. Add 4 ice cubes and shake again for  25 seconds. Strain into a chilled ice filled Old Fashioned glass and spoon over the egg white meringue. Garnish with wood sorrel leaves if you can find them if no baby arugula looks just as pretty.

 

Innisfree Cup

2 oz Irish whiskey

2 oz strong brewed mint tea ( cooled)

1-2 sugar cubes depending on your sweet tooth

3 generous dashes angostura bitters

1 oz cynar

about 6 mint leaves for muddling, 8-10 leaves for laying in bottom of glass and 3-4 generous bushy mint sprigs for garnish

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Add your bitters and sugar into the bottom half of your Boston shaker, splash in a touch of mint tea to help dissolve the sugar, muddle the sugar and bitters. Add six mint leaves, no need to muddle, over muddling will result in bitter sludge tasting mint, shaking the drink with ice should beat up the mint just enough. Add the whiskey, cold tea and Cynar and about 4-5 ice cubes. Shake hard for about 30 seconds.  In a 12 oz glass lay the remaining mint leaves in the bottom , pile on top a generous scoop of crushed ice, I beat mine up in a ziplock bag with a muddler. Strain the contents of your tin over the ice and add  a  touch more  crushed ice on top. Dash over a little more Angostura bitters, garnish with a festive straw and your mint sprigs.

 

The Brooklyn Maker

(a spin on a Boiler maker, using a variation on the classic Brooklyn cocktail)

1 1/2 oz Redbreast Irish whiskey

1/2 oz CiaoCiaro or Averna Amaro

1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz dry vermouth such as Dolin Dry

2 dashes Miracle Mile orange bitters

4-5 oz of dark Irish porter  beer such as Guinness

 

In your mixing glass add all ingredients except for the beer, stir over ice for about 25-30 seconds, strain into a bottle of mini carafe . In a second matching mini bottle pour your dark beer.

When presenting the drink make sure both the beer and the cocktail are chilled as well as the glass, this drink can be served over ice or without, you can also play with different beers to lighten it up slightly, since I’m a bitter lover I chose the combination of dark porter and Amaro.

 

In the spirit of the Holiday and my large living Gaelic friends I leave you with this saying by Brooklyn’s Irish daughter , Mae West…”You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough”

 

Next up…something to wine about

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue No. 020 ” Hot Blooded, Check it and see!

 

y plan was to avoid the subject of Valentines day since I think its a bit too much of a Hallmark holiday, but reading an article recently in my bible the NY Times I came across a book review that tickled me. The book in question is by garden expert Helen Yoest titled ” Plants with Benefits” and it turns out to be a bit of a Horticultural Kama Sutra. I think you should all have realized by now I’m a bit of plant nut, I can’t grow one to save my life but I love using them in all manner of drink concoctions wether they be boozy or not so much. We’ve all heard how Asparagus is supposed to be an aphrodisiac but so too are carrots , fennel, pineapples , peppers and pomegranates , they all have boink boosting properties. As I started digging a bit deeper I found all sorts of goodies on how the Aztecs used agave plants to “increase effect” , how basil was used to make women more sexually attractive or how men go wild for licorice , seriously!

So to help you revv up your engines for the 14th here’s a few ideas to inspire and not one glass of champagne in sight…..

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) contains pheromones, phytoestrogens and an estrogen like substance called estragole. It is used to increase libido, mixed here with Mezcal and agave that increases “effect” whatever that may mean!

Finnochio 

1 1/2 oz Vida or La Purtita Mezcal

3/4 oz fennel apple shrub ( fennel and apple juice, mixed with apple cider vinegar and sugar, steep with toasted celery seeds over night) see shrub post for more details

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz agave

1 oz cocchi americano

dash Miracle Mile or Bitter truth Celery bitters


Shake everything over ice in your Boston shaker, shake for 25 seconds and strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, garnish with a sprinkle of smoked salt and cracked black pepper, finish with a fennel frond

 

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) known to be an invigorator, sacred fruit to Aphrodite ( you know goddess of Love!) paired with agave based Tequila for more feel good factor

It’s a Love Thing

1 1/2 oz silver tequila

1 oz pomegranate juice

1/2 oz lime juice

1 /2 oz campari

1/2 oz agave

about 1 oz of Timmerman’s strawberry lambic ale

 

Put everything except for the ale into your Boston shaker with about 5 ice cubes, shake for 25 seconds and strain into an ice filled glass of choice, top with the strawberry lambic

 

Pineapple (Ananas cosmosus) aphrodisiac, a small glass taken daily is said to promote energies of love, mixed here with rosemary which has a strong erotic effect,  chili and vanilla both also known to be mood enhancers .
Apple of my Eye
1 1/2 oz aged rum
1 oz John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
4 drops vanilla extract
a small sprig of rosemary for muddling
Muddle rosemary sprig with Falernum , agave and lime juice. Add rest of your ingredients and shake in Boston shaker for 30 seconds with 4-5 ice cubes. Strain into a chilled glass of choice and garnish with a pinch of chili powder and some vegetation .
Wheat (Triticum aestivum) strengthens the sexual organs, paired here with saffron which evokes sexual desire , cinnamon used for erotic stimulation and vanilla.

The Mojo

1  1/2 oz wheated bourbon such as Buffalo Trace or Makers Mark

1 oz dry saki

1/2 oz simple syrup infused with  cinnamon and pinch of saffron ( add tablespoon cinnamon powder and saffron pinch to your simple syrup when still warm

2 drops vanilla extract

1/2 oz Averna amaro

Stir all ingredients in your mixing glass with 5-6 ice cubes, stir for 30 seconds or so until your glass becomes nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled coup or martini glass and garnish with a twist or a mint leaf for a bit of aromatic effect.

 

Next up…..looking for that pot of gold 

Issue No.019 Give me little drink from your Loving Cup

 

 

 

 

magine if  going on a cleanse  was as easy as switching on a vacuum cleaner and having it all get sucked out, all evils just washed away and us absolved of our many imbibed sins.  We spend so much time taking care of the outside, the visible parts of us , gussying it up, making it all shiny , yet we put so much crap into our bodies not really thinking too much about the consequences, or dealing with them many years down the line.

Modern diets and lifestyles, i’m not preaching honest, wreak havoc on us . Lets face it we’re all guilty especially at this time of the year when we’ve just spent a month ( maybe more) indulging in a plethora of delights from christmas pudding and mince pies, to egg nog and copious amounts of champagne (ok that was my holiday diet). You get to January and all your bits have gotten a bit softer, bit wobblier , you feel sluggish and lumpy. So the next step is you sign up for a new gym membership to get back into bikini shape, but what about the inside, whats the saying , beauty should start from within , right?A popular method of inner spring cleaning is the fast, you give your digestive system a rest by only drinking juices or teas or spicy maple lemonade. Fasts are  nothing new of course, but they’re pretty bloody trendy these days and not just as  religious practice during Ramadan or Lent  which both employ fasting as part of the “making yourself holy” schtick . A fast is great but but whilst washing your inner bits its not really putting anything back into your system.

I live in the city of Angels, the land of mashed yeast and alfalfa sprouts according to that great Noo Yawker Woody Allen, here there  is an almost unnatural   obsession with juice cleansing, juice bars popping up all over the shop, charging $10 a go for a cold pressed bottle of green nectar, its also become popular to add, dare I say it ( waiting to be struck down by lighting) a shot of vodka or gin to said juice mix, I mean I wrote about it this time last year so I know it to be true. But this month as a change of pace and to give us all a break I decided to concentrate on the beneficial aspects of juice cocktails , or mocktails.  As a bartender I get at least one request a night to make a mocktail of some sort , since I’m a lover of veggie juice I always try to incorporate it somewhere on any drink list I have a hand in. Recently  however I started thinking about making healthful tonics not only that will cleanse those twenty  odd miles of twisted pipes in your tum but that will also help put you back on the right track with the addition of plant extracts.

Phytochemistry ( yup a big word but not a scary one) is the science of chemicals derived from plants, natural chemicals of course,that are used to heal and prevent illness, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines are all derived from Phytochemical mixtures and have been used for centuries before modern medicine was even considered, in fact a whole slew of modern medicines are synthetic imitations of plant based compounds.You may be asking yourself at this point did I suddenly decide to change track and start writing a wellbeing blog, rest assured I did not but as someone that has over the years developed intolerance to all sorts of foods I started looking at ways of making my body feel better and stronger naturally. Here’s just a few…for my chronic migraines I take Feverfew daily, for joint stiffness ( brought on by standing too long and gluten in my diet) I take Boswellia ( same family as Frankincense, you know one of the gifts that a wise man carried) and Turmeric , for upset tummy I use Black walnut tincture or charcoal powder and as an immunity booster oregano or astragalus. Don’t get me wrong I still pop an Advil every now and again much to my Witch Doctor’s disapproval, sometimes pain needs a faster method of being whipped, especially if I’m behind the bar facing 6-8 hours of shaking drinks and attempting to be sweet ( not my forte) , but popping one too many and your liver will start to suffer, too many artificial chemicals will eventually take a toll.

Natural healers are all around us,  take for instance extra virgin olive oil, believe it or not it has similar actions to ibuprofen, its a powerful anti-inflammatory , turmeric one of the main components of curry also great for pain and joint stiffness, eating hot peppers helps to release endorphins and make you feel good, ginger root helps with upset tummies and has a higher level of cancer fighting anti oxidants than most berries ( and its often cheaper than them ) it also helps eliminate pain and inflammation. So using these guys as part of my phytocleansing arsenal, here then are this months soothing cups of love full of natural, plant based free radical fighting superheros.

Oh…and when you get sick of being too righteous  and good, toss in a shot of your favorite liquid poison.

 

Street Phyto Man  

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 3 oz fresh pressed carrot juice

1/2 oz fresh pressed turmeric juice ( or a quarter teaspoon of powdered root)

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice ( or as hot as you can stand it)

2 oz fresh apple juice

1 bar spoon of devil’s claw  tincture ( available at most health food stores)

a pinch of cumin powder

Add everything to your tin with a couple of cubes of ice , no need for tons of dilution, shake for about 10 seconds only then strain into a vessel of choice. Drink it fast or within 15 minutes, the longer it sits the more the valuable elements within the juices will evaporate so you’re just left with carrot tasting water, defying the whole purpose.

great for stiff joints, replaces electrolytes, aids sluggish digestion, lowers sugar levels, soothes the pain)

 

The Kick Inside (an ode to my first vegetarian hero Kate Bush)

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 oz fennel juice

3 oz fresh apple juice

6 mint leaves

3 slices jalapeño

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave ( plant based and low on that nasty sugar index)

black walnut tincture

fennel fronds and mint sprig to garnish

Using your trusty muddler mash up  mint and jalapeño with the agave and lemon juice, add rest of ingredients ( except garnish) and ice. shake for about 15 seconds an dump into a highball. Gussy it up with your garnish and sip away!

Helps with sluggish digestion , rebalances healthy flora in your body, releases endorphins and makes you feel good all over.

 

Flip It Good!

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

3 oz chilled jasmine green tea

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave nectar

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice

1/2 oz egg white

bar spoon really fruity extra virgin olive oil

bar spoon Camu Camu powder

4 drops of vanilla extract

toss everything except for the olive oil into your tin and dry shake for 10 seconds without ice to build up a nice froth, add ice and shake again for a good 15 seconds to incorporate the Camu Camu. At last second stream in the olive oil, it adds a lovely velvety texture and fruitiness to the drink, shake again for few seconds. This is similar to making a Ramos Fizz, add the fat too soon and the drink will not whip up well.

High in antioxidants, Vitamin C, powerful anti-inflammatory and free radical fighter, immune booster and mood enhancer.

 

Phyt The Power

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 whole ripe avocado

1 whole ripe banana

1/2 cup finely chopped lacinato kale

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 oz agave nectar

4 oz unsweetened almond milk or coconut water

bar spoon chlorophyll powder or spirulina

1 ml dropper full of astragalus and ashwaganda ( in the immunity section of your health food store)

Add everything to your blender and blitz on high till your mix is nice and smooth, there will still be green bits of kale but as long as you can get them through a straw you should be good to go.

Great blood cleanser, blood builder, oxygen booster, immune booster, chock full of anti-oxidants and healthy oils to make your skin, nails and hair look strong and vibrant.

 

Chill-dren of the Revolution

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Ok , so this one takes some time to prep but once its done and presuming you made  a batch it will last in the fridge for about a week.

1 silicone ice cube mold (1 ” cube size)

vegetable spray

1/2 cup chilled mint tea

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of ginger juice

1 cup fresh apple juice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon powder

3 capsules Rhodiola Rosea, open up and just use the powder

1 teaspoon agar agar powder

2 tablespoons agave nectar ( sweeten to your taste)

put everything together into a saucepan except for the agar and the Rhodiola powder, bring  to a simmer and whisk in the agar agar, whisking for a couple of minutes to makes sure there are no lumps.

meanwhile have the silicone ice tray mold sprayed with veggie oil ( wiping out the excess with a paper towel) this helps release the cubes when ready.

take mix of the heat and add the agave nectar, stirring it in,  cool slightly before whisking in the Rhodiola, again make sure there are no lumps or clusters, you want to make sure it dissolves fully.

pour into prepared mold and let set in fridge for about 1/2 an hour or longer if you can wait that long.

for the drink, take 3 cubes and put into a cup or heat resistant glass, add lemon wheels or a twist, a couple of cloves and another twist of fresh black pepper. Pour over a cup of boiling water, the cubes will dissolve . Stir and enjoy the aromas hitting your senses.

Great stress reliever, mood enhancer, energy booster, helps your brain rebalance all the good brain chemicals such as seratonin and endorphins.

 

 

 

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