Issue No.013 Get ourselves back to the garden

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up , I admit it,I’m a hippy at heart, a granola crunching, raw juicing, compost making , Joni Mitchell loving , Greenpeace member . I’m a child of the sixties, born in 67 a couple of months after the summer of love, raised to  respect the land that bore me , I refused to wear shoes on it until school forced me to, shoes in my idealist head represented the “man”, even at the age of four. My fondest childhood memories are scent orientated ,sitting in our back garden breathing in the summer air,  my high came from  heady tomato plants or sitting under lilac and orange blossom trees after a summer shower. Just like a honey bee I can’t pass by a hedgerow without smelling roses or resist  springs first offerings  lilly of the valley, hyacinths, bluebells or daffodils,or the Cali  phenomenon Night flowering Jasmine which completely intoxicates me , beckoning me like some siren to crash onto the rocks,or in my case  the 405, one whiff and am transported to the English country garden in my memory and as Thomas Hardy would say “far from the madding crowd” .

There are other properties that flowers hold too, for eons used for their healing powers, if the scent is not enough to chill you out then consider using their essence suspended in alcohol, yes you knew I would eventually get there, if not in a delicious libation then a la Dr.Bach with his flower remedies, used by many a modern Homeopath to quiet the mind. The Victorian age produced a whole dictionary of flower meanings and symbolism, violets the most often used  flowers in scenes symbolizing faithfulness and daisies for innocence.

In Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines both rose and orange flowers are distilled into hydrosols ( a water based solution made by distilling an essence) and used mostly in sweets such as turkish delight or baklava, but also to mask the flavor of high mineral content in drinking water and to purify the hands before tea drinking in Morocco.  I carry a spritzer of orange flower water with me to mist on hot days, its reviving and soothing all at the same time. The last few years has seen a resurgence in flowers being used  for the making of cordials, the most popular  is elderflowers used for St.Germain or Mr.Cooper’s other offering Creme  Yvette made from violets. Hibiscus flowers a common ingredient in Latin cuisine, that makes a tart and refreshing agua fresca. Or try Wood sorrel leaves , they look like clover but taste like a grassy citrus, great for making sours.

Like Alice in the garden of live flowers I could easily get lost and wander off intoxicated by scents and stories and never get to the point of this issue, instead am cutting the stem short and presenting you with an edited bouquet of libatious delights perfect for that violet time between day and night, the cocktail hour.

Alright blossom?

One of the most time consuming classic drinks to make is the Ramos Fizz, it involves copious amounts of shaking to get an almost milk shaky consistency, it consists of gin, cream, egg whites and citrus.  Created by Henry C. Ramos in 1888, in his bar in New Orleans, it was originally called a “New Orleans Fizz.” Back before prohibition this drink was very popular, and because labour rates were so cheap, the Ramos brothers would hire a couple dozen “shaker boys” to whip up these drinks . It became so popular that it was difficult for them to keep up with the orders. Over time the idea of a quality drink was replaced by a fast drink and the Ramos Gin Fizz slowly faded away. To me orange flower water is a marriage made in heaven when paired with pistachios, a classic Middle eastern pairing for wedding cookies as well as Baklava. Below is my variation on the fizz  using this inspiration plus a slightly Moorish take on a summery sangria-esque highball that also employs the scent of orange blossoms.

Little Green

2 oz gin ( Ford’s would be my preference but Beefeater is good too)

1 oz egg white

1 1/2 oz pistachio milk ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1) ratio

bar spoon of orange flower water

3 drops of vanilla extract

soda water to top off and pistachio nut for grating as garnish

 

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

this may not be the classic and correct way of constructing this drink but its the way it works for me to get a good amount of body.

Add all ingredients except for the cream, soda and garnish to  your Boston shaker, give a good dry shake without ice for about 20 seconds to get the egg white nice and lively, add your cream and a wee bit of cracked ice, too much will dilute the drink and deflate the egg, you want a 2-3 small pieces to chill the drink enough and then give a good whip shake for about a minute more if you want to thicken the cream more, the idea is that you are whipping air into both the cream and egg white. Strain into your vessel of choice, I am currently obsessed with these 8oz mini milk bottles, add your splash of soda water and grate pistachio on top using a microplane or zester.

Marrakesh Express

2 1/2 oz light fruity red wine

1/2 oz luxardo maraschino liqueur

1 oz booze of your choice gin ,vodka,brandy or omit for a less boozie version

1 oz cocchi americano

1/2 oz agave syrup

3/4 lemon juice

barspoon of orange flower water

a couple of turns of ground pink peppercorn

fruit to muddle, such as oranges, kumquats, blueberries, strawbs, ( later in year figs and pomegranite)

dry ginger beer to top off  (Fevertree my current flame) and orange slice, peppercorn garnish

 

Toss everything together in your shaker, add a couple of cubes of ice and whip shake to blend everything well without diluting too much. Strain into a tall ice filled vessel and top with the dry ginger beer and garnish

Rambling Rose

This should be my nickname, having a tendency to go off on several tangents and then forgetting what my point was like one of your batty aunts, one of my favorite rose scented bevvies comes from Jamie Boudreau, he created the inspirational Rosewater Ricky, a combo of gin, flamed cherries and rosewater amongst other things. However a recent inspiration of mine came from a fellow called Max, one of our prep cooks at work who came up with a refreshing  non-boozie lemonade using an unexpected ingredient, you can make it with or without the sauce. This drink also works well as a pitcher

Green Manalishi

 1 1/2 oz pea & mint syrup ( yup peas) recipe below in basics

4-5 fresh mint leaves ( stems are bitter)

2 oz of vodka, gin or aquavit

1 oz lemon

1 oz Dolin blanc vermouth

bar spoon rosewater

4 or 5 slices of lemongrass

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Muddle mint and lemongrass with pea syrup and lemon juice, add rest of your ingredients and give a good shake with cracked ice for about 30 seconds in your Boston shaker. Double strain into an ice filled glass using your coco and hawthorn strainers , double straining makes sure you get no bits of mint,pea or lemongrass. Top with a splash of something bubbly , soda , ginger beer or prosecco. Top with mint sprig garnish.

 

Pink Moon

My second rose scented offering  also incorporates the very british garden grown ingredient rhubarb,  its delicious vegetal subtle pinkness is simply divine darling when paired with a wee bit of  rose water, the syrup can be used for a refreshing soda or amazing drizzled on goats milk yogurt or ice cream. The drink is pretty much a version of a boozy pink lemonade, nothing too complicated allowing the ingredients to shine through,I dusted it with little beet powder that adds extra earthy drama.

Inspired by the rose scented delicacy Turkish delight, for a bit of fun I made jello shot jellys to accompany both this drink and the following one, the recipe I adapted from the NY Time’s article written by the wonderfully smart Toby Cecchini.

2 oz gin or vodka

1 1/2 oz rhubarb syrup ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 oz egg white

1/2 oz cocchi americano

bar spoon of rosewater

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

toss everything together in your trusty shaker and dry shake without ice  for a good 15 seconds or so, add a small amount of ice and whip shake for another 30 seconds, you want the shaker nicely chilled but your contents not too diluted and bruised. Strain into a coupe or small glass , top with some of the remaining egg white foam, garnish with a skewer of berries or if you got adventurous additionally with a rhubarb jelly and a sprinkle of  dehydrated beet powder.

Bramble on…

The Bramble is more of a new classic, invented somewhere in the 80′s ( nineteen not eighteen), by a fellow Brit bartender, its a cobbler in style, using plump ripe blackberries to fruitify some London dry, my additions here were minimal, a touch of the gentle lady rose water and a couple of crushed rosehips, oh and a splash of strawberry lambic to finish off the English brambled garden theme.

2 oz gin

1 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 oz creme Yvette, creme de mure or cassis

barspoon of rosewater

4-5 plump ripe blackberries

2 crushed rosehips ( local herbal store should stock)

splash of Timmermans strawberry lambic ale to top off and lemon twist

 

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

In your glass or jelly jar add your berries, rosehips, syrup and lemon juice, give it all a good muddling, top with ice, add gin and rosewater and stir for about 20 seconds, top with the lambic ale, lemon twist and a skewered blackberry.

 

Barefoot in the Grass

This drink is an ode to my good friend Paddy, who takes all of my gorgeous shots here, recently he told me he’s quite fond of whiskey sours,  I came up with this drink a version of a classic Boston whiskey sour for St.Patrick’s day and used Irish whiskey, the elderflower based liqueur St.germain and at the suggestion of one our fantastic chefs, foraged wood sorrel , which happens to look like a little lucky charm with its clover shaped self. You can also use sorrel leaves, I find them at the Farmer’s market and from time to time at WF’s.The lemony sourness of sisters sorrel and wood sorrel once wazzed in the blender with some cold water can be used as the sour element of your drink instead of citrus juice and add a fragrant grassy note to your drinks.

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey

1 oz wood 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 ( a vin d’aperitif, use Lillet blanc in a pinch)

1 oz egg white

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Dry shake your ingredients together for about 15 seconds, add wee bit of  ice and shake again for further 30 seconds, again the trick is not to over shake and kill the flavors but get the drink chilled and nicely frisky.

strain into a coupe or sour glass and top with a sprig of something herbal, I had fennel handy.

 

The Basics 

Rhubarb syrup 

12 stalks of rhubarb ( or thereabouts) washed and chopped into half inch width bits

2 cups of organic cane sugar ( not brown sugar, the molasses will  kill the flavor)

1 cup of cold water

1 large metal bowl

plastic wrap

1 large pot that the bowl will sit on without touching the bottom of the pan

throw rhubarb, water and sugar into the bowl, cover with a couple of layers of plastic wrap, in meantime fill large pan about half way full of water and set onto high heat. Once the water starts to simmer place the plastic wrapped bowl onto pan and turn down heat to medium, the steam from the hot water will start to cook the rhubarb and make it release its juices. Leave it for about an hour and a half until the rhubarb has gotten soft but not totally broken down, if you leave it too long the syrup will be less consomme like, which is what you’re after and more muddy, the taste won’t be much different but the look will. Once ready take the bowl off the pan and using a second bowl and a chinoise strainer, strain off the liquid, don’t push the solids through but agitate it enough that all the precious liquid drains out. When you have most of the liquid separated set it aside to cool, the solids left from the rhubarb you can use for pie filling, compote , jam or ice cream topping.

Pea & mint syrup

1 bag of frozen peas

a generous handful of fresh mint leaves only, no stems

a cup of simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water, cool before using)

in a blender add your ingredients and wazz on high for about 30 seconds

strain through a chinoise strainer adding a touch of water if needed to thin out.

add to lemon juice and soda water for a refreshing lemonade.

Sorrel Juice

2 cups of rough chopped sorrel leaves

1 cup cold water ( warm will blanch it and make the leaves yellow)

add both to your blender and wazz on high for about 15 seconds, strain and store the liquid in an airtight container, this oxides quite fast so use within a day.

Pistachio Milk

2 cups raw shelled pistachios

2 cups warm water

2 cups distilled water

in a mason jar add your pistachio nuts and warm water, allow to sit for about an house so the nuts soften, strain out liquid then add nuts and distilled water to a blender, blitz nuts for about 30 seconds and throw everything back into a clean lidded jar, allow to sit for about 4-5 hours, shake the jar every so often to agitate. Strain out liquid, double strain if needed, this is your nut milk, store in the fridge for a couple of days at max.

Rhubarb jellies

1 packet knox unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup of rhubarb syrup warmed through on stove

1/4 cup of cocchi americano

1/4 oz rose water

add the gelatin powder to the warm syrup, stir to dissolve powder, add the cocchi and rosewater and stir again, transfer to an airtight flat bottomed container and tsore in fridge for 3-4 hours till set. Carve up how you so choose if they get as far as a drink well done, mine got gobbled up pretty fast.

 

 

Next up….Thai one on

 

 

 

Issue No. 012 Pour Some Sugar In Me

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ow very English of me , pip pip, spit spot , bloody ell, and all that me ol china!

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Tea is my all healer, got a cold, get a cuppa, need refreshing get an iced one, need a kick get some yerba. Its such a multi tasker that am surprised have not gotten to tea time before.

The bloody English like to claim it as their own,what with elevenses, low tea and high tea, the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the PG Tips chimps but whatevs, the brilliant Chinese are most likely the first to brew up a pot for medicinal purposes no doubt and most likely it was green or white, but us Brits we have to cook everything to within an inch ( of its life) so the leaves get a good roasting and turn to deep black teas . As a kid there was only one way of getting your dose of tea tannins, stewed  in a big old pot to a dark brown, add some milk and you have a terracotta deep colored brick so strong you can stand on it, add a coupla lumps of sugar and your good to go. My uncle was the one that introduced me to milk-less and herbal teas, we had mint growing like a wild fire taking over the garden in summer time, all different kinds too, penny royal, spearmint, peppermint so he would pull it up, dry some for winter and the rest we would brew into a sugar spiked tea that sat in the fridge in buckets. To this day its probably my favorite tea to drink. My gran would make teas from all sorts in the garden, she claimed each one thing had a purpose in the garden as well as for the body and in the spirit of me old China men , she used them as healing tissanes. My most memorable was  a nasty tasting and smelling drink made from Feverfew, it reeked up the house but like a miracle got rid of tummy aches in minutes, no doubt the scent of it was enough to make the nastiest tummy bug pack its bags and move on to more hospitable bellies. Gran was my inspiration for getting into herbal remedies and tinctures, I had a whole wood and glass medicine cabinet full of roots and leaves, bottles and twigs, I read for shits and giggles Culpeper’s Complete Herbal guide, it was my bible until I discovered Led Zep at age 13 and then it took second place to Jimmy Page and his witchy ways.

Thats pretty much how tea started its journey though, a plant brewed with hot water as a tissane for ailments, at some point it was discovered that certain leaves contained stimulants like caffeine and it became the popular pick me up way before coffee and that hideous bull pee concoction . Actually the bull thing has been a bit of an inspiration of late, I am currently working on a natural, tea based butt kicker that will get a dose of the old Co2 so that I can help ween my co-workers off their expensive , destructive and nasty canned habit, am certain I can concoct something to make them happy.Green tea is also used to flavor several gins on the market including Beefeater and  contains high levels of the cancer fighting super hero anti-oxidants .

My personal favorites to use in adventures of the cocktail are Earl Grey, named after a British Prime Minister and flavored with bergamot orange oil, the rumor is the oil was added to offset the lime tinged waters of Northern England where  the minister resided. Earl Grey is best used with Bourbon and Gin, try infusing a bottle of gin with a few spoons of Earl Grey to make your next Collins or sour, its quite lovely!   Lapsang  Souchong ,  a black tea that has its leaves dried over pine fires, a similar  process used when  making peaty scotch, the smoke from the fires lends the tea an aromatic smokey aroma and flavor, by itself its an acquired taste but make a simple syrup with it and mix it with rum or the afore mentioned scotch it’ll blow your mind. Chamomile infused in vermouth or wine based mixers and green tea, jasmine green and orange blossom my two loves work well infusing gin or vodka. There is seriously a plethora of blends you can play with, mango coconut tea infused rum, mixed into a Mai  Tai, green tea gin mixed in a Singapore Sling or a lapsang tea and scotch old fashioned. Here’s a few tea based recipes to whet yer whistle!

The Big Chill

This drink is inspired by the summer staple Sangria

2 oz chamomile infused Cocchi Americano  (recipe below)

2 oz Reisling or Gruner Veitliner wine

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

1 oz aquavit , gin or vodka

3/4 oz agave

4 drops miracle mile orange bitters

3/4 oz meyer lemon juice

chopped citrus such as kumquats or blood oranges

bubbles, choose from ginger beer to champagne

mint sprig garnish

 

In a Boston shaker muddle your fruit with the agave , bitters and  lemon juice, not too ferociously, you want your fruit to still look pretty in your glass. Add the rest of your ingredients except for bubbles and garnish, give a good shake for 30 seconds or so with ice and dump into a wine glass of choice, top with bubbles and garnish.

This is also great as a pitcher, make your mix but don’t add ice or bubbles until ready to serve, I suggest adding the ice to your glass rather than the pitcher so that the mix does not get diluted too fast as it stands.

The Sinnerman

The love child of a Sir Sazerac and her Ladyship Julep

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

1 oz Earl Grey Tea simple syrup (recipe below in basics)

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

6 mint sprigs

3 dash Peychauds bitters

Absinthe rinsed glass

mint sprig garnish

In your trusted Boston shaker muddle the mint with simple and bitters, toss in the rest of your ingredients with ice and shake, strain into your chilled, absinthe rinsed ice filled ( preferably with a cube) old fashioned glass, top with mint sprig and if you like add an extra spritz of absinthe on top of the drink and mint so that you get a whiff under your nose as you imbibe.

Matcha, Matcha Matcha!

1 teaspoon Matcha powdered green tea

2 oz  Kaffir lime leaf infused white rum or Pisco (  Recipe below in basics)

1 oz orgeat

1 oz lime juice

2 oz coconut milk

3 dashes Scrappy’s cardamom bitters

 

Add everything to your Boston shaker with ice, shake  for 30 seconds and strain into a coupette, garnish with a kaffir lime leaf

Rice Rice Baby (ok , so i’m getting corny with the names)

Rice Milk Horchata or an Indian Lhassi is probably one of my favorite drinks to go with spicy food, it dumbs down those evil spice monkeys dancing on your tongue. This version is shot through an ISI gun to give it a bit of fluffing but can be made just as easily just by shaking in a tin. My version is slightly inspired by the Dude’s favorite White Russian and a Ramos, the recipe below is for one drink, if using an ISI you can batch it and make a few at once

1 1/2 oz chai tea infused vodka(recipe below)

1 oz John D Taylor’s Velvet Falernum

2 oz Vanilla rice milk

1 egg white

1/2 oz chilled espresso

1/2 oz agave

1 bar spoon acid phosphate ( adds a zing to milky drinks without adding juice)

3 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

Nutmeg garnish

 

Throw everything into your ISI gun or Boston shaker, in ISI charge with one N02 canister and give a good shake, in Boston shaker toss in some ice and shake for 30-40 seconds. The ISI version is easy to dispense into mini milk bottles, if not using ISI but want the bottled presentation is recommend using a funnel to direct your drink into the right place. Once you’re happy with where your drink landed grate a wee bit of nutmeg and add a straw.

 

The Basics

Tea infused spirits

My rule of thumb is for one 750ml bottle of booze you need about 6 tablespoons of tea, if you get it too strong you can always dilute it with more of the virgin non infused spirit, get it too weak and you wont be able to taste it in your drink once mixers and dilution added. Some green teas can be a bit strong as can lapsang tea. I tend to infuse mostly white spirits or fortified wines since their flavors are less imposing and more able to pick up an infusion, some scotches and bourbons are a little harder to mix with, as with everything I highly encourage experimentation and making your own blends.

1 bottle of vodka, gin , rum or vermouth

6 tablespoons of best quality tea of your choice.

1 large mason jar

a dark corner

throw the spirit and tea into your jar and screw on the lid, give a good shake and place in your dark and undisturbed corner, leave for at least 24 hours  shaking a couple of times , taste it and if you think it needs to be stronger leave it for another 12 hours. Once its ready strain through a chinoise strainer and rebottle, if you infused vermouth it should be stored in the fridge, its a fortified wine which means that it will oxidize faster.

You can use the same process for pretty much infusing anything including the kaffir lime leaves in the first recipe, hot peppers should be checked on within 8 hours, they can get crazy spicy, in this case you can always dilute with non infused spirit.

 Tea Infused simple syrup

This is one of the first infusions I made when I started to tinker with classic recipes, I used Early Grey tea as my flavor component. The solution needs to be strong so its not lost in the mix.To get the best results use boiling water and cane sugar, do not use brown sugar , the molasses thats in it will change the flavor drastically.

4 cups of boiling water

4 tablespoons of best quality loose tea, or 8 tea bags

4 cups of sugar

Steep the tea as though you were making a cuppa, leave it for about half an hour then strain off liquid, measure your remaining liquid and add an equal volume of cane sugar. Store in a sealed container in the fridge, it should last about a week but no more.

To my Earl Grey recipe I sometimes add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and lemon peels whilst infusing, they add a lovely flavor.

Acid Phosphate

 Acid Phosphate was a popular ingredient used at the soda fountains of old, it sounds a bit , well chemical, but its a naturally occurring enzyme found in our own bodies and aids in digestion. In drinks it adds a certain zing if you like, its the slight tartness that balances out milky sweet egg creams but can also be used in soda making, I believe it was a component of the original Coca Cola recipe. Buy it here, its fun to play with and add to your milkshakes.

Next up……Round and round the garden, an ode to Spring

Issue No. 011 Squeeze my lemon

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ed Zeppelin sang its anthem the best, “squeeze me babe, till the juice runs down my leg” an obvious blues metaphor for , well you know what! Yet how is it the humble  lemon,  is so  misunderstood ? I mean we’ve all heard the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” or “don’t buy that car,its a total lemon”.  What’s so wrong with being a bloomin lemon? In my eternal quest to give a good fluffing to the under dog I decided the lemon  needed a bit of positive attention . Here’s some stuff you might not know…the lemon has way more uses than just being an indignant symbol,oh yes, use it as a mood enhancer, a cleaning tool, as a battery ( you need some electrodes for this jobbie) use it to get rid of nasty smells and to keep insects away. Its history is documented as far back as  90BC in both China and India, its name is derived from the Arabic word for  citrus, limun which itself has its roots in Sanskrit, it  became popular in Italy around the 1500′s and was then transported to the Americas by old man Columbus. Is all of this too much information for you? Wait, there’s more….the clever Italians were the first to use it to make liqueurs  and in Arab and Indian cuisines its preserved with salt and used to flavor all manner of dishes and then there’s  the whole other world of cocktails.

Two of my personal favorite members of the lemon clan are the meyer lemon for its sweet and fragrant tartness and the Ichang lemon offspring, the yuzu most prominently used in Japanese cuisine but experiencing a bit of a fan club in modernist chefs. Am also getting into these days the Ozzie cultivat finger lime and preserved black limes both of which add a lovely quality to both food and drink experiments of mine. I have to however just stick to lemons with Pomelos and mandarins, and countless oranges if I included them all we’d be here till next Christmas so am going to attempt to keep to a strictly tailored list. In my head I can hear my  friend Paddy saying “keep it short, there’s a good girl”.

So the question is, how do you get the citrus into your drink? Do you infuse the peel into your liquor, do you use the oil from the rind to spritz onto your finished drink, or is it just by using the juice? It depends on how you like to get your fix, as  a base or as an aroma,a finish or as a tart slap. As miss Browning would put it, “how do I love thee, let me count the ways”…..

Infusing

The simplest way of making an infused spirit is to chop up a generous amount of your flavoring agent and toss it into a jar along with a bottle of your favorite booze, depending on the strength of your ingredient’s flavor you do a combo of shaking and sitting ( not you the jar) for 1 day to a week, for citrus usually you just want the zest, not the pith nor the flesh, however I like to add a wee bit of the pith and flesh, am always tempted by a bit of flesh…and a lover of all things bitter. The pith adds a nice bitter finish and the flesh the slightly tart slap.

Bitter lemon Gin

4 lemons of choice, peeled with minimal pith.

1 peeled lemon chopped in half including the pith

1 liter bottle of gin ( my choice at minute is Ford’s from the 86 Co.)

1 large screw top mason jar

toss it all in the jar and let it sit in a dark place for 24-48 hours or so shaking from time to time. If you have access you can vacuum pack your ingredients in a cryo baggie and toss into an immersion circulator for 1 hour at 65 degrees ( yes 1 hour does it) let the baggie cool down and strain through a chinoise strainer or micro bag, same goes for your jarred infusion, when its done strain and re-bottle.

I  infused  an aperitif called Cocchi Americano the same way except that I infused that with kaffir lime leaves .

Bitter Lemon Drop

2 oz bitter lemon gin

1 oz kaffir lime Cocchi

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio

4 drops Miracle Mile Yuzu bitters

cane sugar for rimming of your glass

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

shake your ingredients over ice in a Boston shaker, strain into a chilled sugar rimmed glass.

Squeezing

With any drink you make its always advisable to use the freshest ingredients, bottled or packaged juices are usually pasteurized and they lose that bright fresh quality, pasteurizing leaves the juice tasting a bit dull. Juice only as much as you need for your drinks, you can use the remainder the next day only if its been stored in the fridge overnight. My favorite citrus juicer is the  professional strength one from Waring available at Amazon (link below). Make sure when storing your juice you do so in a clean and wiped container, the juice will pick up any flavors so make sure you the last thing you stored in same container was not 1) cat food or 2) last nights chicken Biriyani, you will have to run the bugger through the dishwasher several times and then rinse it in lemon and salt to get rid of any odors, ( lemon juice works well to get rid of nasty smells too)

My personal favorite drink that includes lemon juice is the sour, a  2:1:1:1 ratio of spirit, egg white , sweetener( you can use a sweet liqueur instead of simple syrup) and lemon or lime juice. Since I added the nut milk I cut down on the ingredients a bit so as not to waste.

The drink below contains pistachio milk, made by soaking 2 cups of shelled  and roasted pistachios in 2 cups of warm water for about 4 hours which are ran though a food processor and then the liquid is strained off, you can turn this into an orgeat style syrup by adding 1 cup of simple syrup and a few drops of orange flower water, I just use the milk for this drink.

Pistachio Sour

1 1/2 oz white rum, I managed to get my hands on a bottle of  the Cuban Havana Club’s version which is the best by far but not so easy to find, the 86 Co. makes one that is quite close in flavor called Cana Brava, Cruzan is also a good choice

1 oz pistachio milk

1 oz egg white

3/4 oz Meyer lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water

1 drop pistachio extract ( I admit to cheating  so far for this one and buy  on Amazon)

2 drops black lime bitters

pistachio nut for shaving onto drink for garnish

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

dry shake without ice everything except for the garnishing nut for about 10 seconds, add  a couple of small ice cubes to your Boston shaker and shake again for a further 30-40 seconds or until you have a nice frosty tin. Strain into a chilled coupette, spoon out some of the egg froth and microplane your pistachio nut on top.

You can also make a really quick lemon ice  with your juice and add simple syrup to taste, remembering that you need to make your ice sweeter when still liquid since freezing will make it less sweet tasting. I throw it in the freezer in a flat freezer safe container and rake the slush with a fork to stop it from growing ice crystals, takes about 4-5 hours to be good and frozen. See below for a variation on this easy recipe.

Citrate

Citric acid is a major component in many soft beverages and is used in place of fresh citrus juice to flavor and add tartness . Its produced by crystallizing lemon juice and decomposes much slower than the juice its made from. It comes in the form of a powder and should be made into a slurry with warm water before adding it to your liquid. I use it to tart up soda syrups  as well as certain carbonated cocktails  but you need to be careful to not have a heavy hand or the lady tart will take over and is really hard to rebalance once its in there.

For a recent project I had to come up with non-boozie food pairings, I wanted to do a yuzu cream soda but had to make it using non chemical additives. Vanilla is the primary flavoring of cream soda and so I came up with a vanilla and caramelized sugar syrup which needed to have somewhat of a shelf life so instead of using yuzu juice I added the peel to the warm syrup and a touch of citric acid for the tart bite. The finished mix worked well in  boozie drinks too and my favorite combo used Earl Grey tea (itself flavored by another citrus , bergamot orange oil) and the yuzu cream citrate, recipe below in basics.


Duke of Earl

2 oz whisky, scotch, bourbon or rye, all work well

2 oz of chilled strong earl grey tea

1 oz yuzu cream citrate

1 oz meyer lemon juice

3 drops angostura bitters

2 drops Miracle Mile yuzu bitters

Belgian style Lambic ale

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

Toss everything into your ice filled Boston shaker except for the Lambic beer. Shake for a good 40 seconds and then strain into an ice filled collins glass. Top with the Lambic and garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of lemon.

Delicious, Scientific Magic.

Who knows how it works but DSM is as Toby Cecchini puts it in his NY Times article on Limoncello,  a bit of a mystery. Limoncello is an Italian lemon based liqueur that a Roman friend of mine introduced me to many moons ago, we would sip it as an after dinner treat or pour it over home made goats milk gelato, it also mixes quite nicely in cocktails or in just a glass of the old champers. You need good quality lemons, high proof spirit ,a big jar and a cup of patience, it takes time to complete the process but is worth it methinks. Look up the full Times article here

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

The Macgyvered  version….

Lemon Sgroppino

( a sgroppino is an Italian cocktail that includes vodka, prosecco and a scoop of lemon sorbet, my version is not strictly true to the original version but tasty non the less )

1 scoop lemon ginger ice (recipe below)

1 oz Limoncello

4 oz cava, prosecco or champers ( or even beer)

1 oz or so of St. Germain foam (recipe below)

lemon zest for garnishing.

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

Place a scoop of your lemon ice in a chilled glass, pour in your limoncello and bubbles and top with the foam. Finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest, the sorbet ice acts as a flavored ice cube, eat with a spoon and then slurp the remainder.

Lemon Scented 

A quick way to get a lemon finish on anything is to spritz the oils from the zest onto your chosen target, the oils add that lovely freshness , a lot of classic cocktails are finished off with a citrus oil spritz and the zest is then rubbed on the rim of the glass to further enhance the experience. Plus if you’re feeling bluesy in these dark days of winter’s reign you can also spritz above your nose and it instantly uplifts your mood ( I swear am not bonkers).

Lemon Like

A new addition to my pantry staples is Sorrel, it has a tart twang to it and although mostly used in soups can be used to infuse spirits and syrups too. For a quick infusion add a generous handful of ripped leaves to your trusty ISI gun, add your liquid, screw on the top and charge with a couple of N2o gas chargers, make sure not to unscrew the cap just the capsule where your gas charger lives. The compression of the gas forces the flavor out of the leaves into the liquid. You can also try infusing in a mason jar, under vacuum or if you’re feeling super adventurous by using a gelatin filtration method, most commonly used in molecular cuisine for making consomme. More on this subject to come.

The Basics

 

Yuzu cream citrate

2 cups organic cane sugar

1/4 cup cold water

2 cups warm water

1 vanilla bean

peel of 1 yuzu fruit

1 teaspoon of citric acid

pinch salt

candy thermometer

pastry brush

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

In a pan add the sugar and 1/4 cup cold water, set onto a medium flame , let the sugar dissolve and start to bubble, lower your flame and with a wet brush wipe down the sides of your pan to get rid of sugar crystals ( or you can just plop a lid on your pan so the condensation runs down the pan and wipes off your sugar crystals). Set in your candy thermometer and let the mix reach 280 degrees. Take off the heat and add your 2 cups of warm water, it will bubble quite a bit and there’s a chance the sugar will seize and get solid so you need to put the pan back on the flame once bubbling stops and stir slowly till you have a syrup base. Add your vanilla bean paste , salt, citric acid and yuzu peel , stir over a low flame for about 10 minutes then take off and pour into a  screw top jar. Let sit and infuse for at least 12 hours.

 

Lemon  ginger ice

1 cup of cane sugar

1 cup of water

1 cup of lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup of dry ginger beer such as Fevertree

1 chopped  stalk lemongrass

photograph by Patrick Obrien-Smith

add the sugar and water to pan with lemon zest, set on medium flame and let sugar dissolve. Add lemongrass, lower flame and stir for about 15 minutes. Take off flame and let sit so the lemongrass and zest can infuse the syrup. Strain out the lemongrass and then add your ginger beer, stir then pour into a freezer proof container , place in the freezer and every so often rake with a fork to stop ice crystals from forming. It will take around 4 hours to set enough to scoop, the lemon ice acts kind of like your ice cube.

St. Germain Foam

2 oz St.Germain liqueur

2 oz egg white

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz lemon juice

2 oz soda water

ISI gun

1 N2o gas charger

Add everything to your ISI gun, screw on cap and charge with the gas, give the gun a good shake test, it should be a nice foam about the consistency of soft peaked egg whites, you don’t want it too stiff or it won’t mix well into your drink so one charge should be enough, if you don’t add the soda the foam will be too stabilized and stiff.

 

And we could not have done this without…..

The Elderflower, a small white blossom that only blooms for a few days in Spring, has a long history in mixology. Due to its delicate nature, the flavor was preserved in syrups that were often too sweet. St. Germain Liqueur has managed to harness the Elderflower’s aromas and flavors in an elegant liqueur that far surpasses its predecessors.

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur should have a place in the bar of any cocktail enthusiast. It offers lovely notes of pear and lychee, balanced by enough tartness to please even the palates of those generally drawn to drier libations. It has an understated yet unmistakable presence, and can hold its own when mixed with a variety of spirits.

 

whip it good

 

ISI whipping gun 

The workhorse

Waring Pro juicer 


Next up….. the Tea Baggers (?) 

 

 

Issue No. 010 In my time of dying

 

 

The product seems to have a direct effect on making me more regular. Order levitra canada? There are a lot of legitimate mail-order pharmacies in this country.

nce upon a time , many moons ago around the age of 22  I was hit by my first head banging hangover after a long night of drinking Brandy Alexanders and single malt scotch, it also  happens  to be  the day  after my  first  Hogmanay  spent  in  Scotland  ( more in  issue 009)the morning I still remember very clearly ( or maybe I should say the early eve ) I had used a bowl of peanuts that had been left on the floor as my pillow and awoke with several stuck to my face,luckily cell phones and instagram had not yet been invented or by pock marked face would be hanging around somewhere tormenting me in places other than my memory. Tis the first time I awoke and  felt like I had been hit by a truck, since then there have been many more occasions  usually after which I swear I will never touch another drop and yet somehow  and sometimes mere hours later I will be seduced by a jewel like glass filled with usually an amber colored enchanter, one whiff and am all his. Tis also the first time someone older and wiser than myself handed me  a glass of something stiff and told me to knock it back with the promise I would rapidly feel much better. This was my first introduction to an actual ” hair of the dog ” remedy, I think it was brandy, espresso and a ton of sugar, followed by my favorite breakfast a good old fashioned bacon and egg butty. Needless to say I survived that ordeal and went on to experience as well as fine tune many more such adventures in dog wrangling.

Am pretty sure we’ve all been there, waking up at 5 in the morning,heart pounding,  your mouth as dry as Maggie Smith’s humor and feeling like you’ve been run over by a herd of stampeding shoppers on their way to the Macy’s sale. As an antidote to the excesses of the New Year celebrations  most of us partook in I figured a dose of  something with more…ahem,  healing properties were  a good prescription for this issue.

This is also the time of the year where we all start to think about getting fit for summer, cleansing and detoxing  from all manner of over indulgence . Juice cleanses seem to be the most popular. For a while now I have been sacreligiously  mixing fresh veggie juices with my booze, I mean why not, should tomatoes be the only partner to your post binge pick me up, methinks no, besides tomato juice unless freshly pressed or made into tomato water as discussed in previous issues is infinitely less appealing to me than a glass of sweet and earthy carrot or beet juice. A restaurant I was bar manager of last year wanted a revamp of their brunch fair, they like most places had been sticking to the bog standard  mimosas or marys so I came up with a list of sippers that would both pair well with the chef’s dishes and garden to table vision and be a  refreshing , replenishing addition for the brunch diners. The menu was titled Hair of the Dog ( that bit you) and listed the health benefits gained under each drink.

Hair of the dog” is a colloquial expression used to refer to booze that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a raging hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound.The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of Shakepseare . Ebenezer Cobham Brewer ( great name) writes in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): “In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. ‘If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.’” He also cites two apocryphal poems containing the phrase, one of which is attributed to Aristophanes. It is possible that the phrase was used to justify an existing practice, and the idea of similia similbus curantur  (no, not a spell from Harry Potter but “like cures like”) dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates. Like cures like is also the basis of all Homeopathic medicines where small doses of what has made you fall ill are taken to help heal you. The operative phrase here is “small doses”, am not by any means endorsing a post binge binge but more of a little tipple to smooth out your rough and ragged morning edges.

This brings me also to the Corpse Reviver , a gothic sounding concoction which was made in the style of a classic cocktail, popular in the 1930′s ,it is one of a small family of drinks originally mixed as hangover remedies and are documented as far back as 1871.  Harry Craddock, cataloging them in the “Savoy Cocktail Book” in 1930, wrote, “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” (He also famously cautioned: “Four of these taken in swift succession will quickly unrevive the corpse again.”) It was commonplace back in the day to be able to wander into a bar for an “eye opener” such as the corpse reviver that would shock your system and keep it going for the rest of the day. The drink needs to contain three key ingredients to work, sugar for energy, a stomach settler ( brandy or a bitter for instance) and  alcohol for that slap you in the face jolt .Whilst we all think we’re so modern and progressive these days how sad that in most bars these days you would only really find a bloody mary as a mid morning pick me up, that tradition of a well made pick me up has been replaced by a canned fizzy drink containing  synthetic hormone like substances derived from bulls testicles,you all know what am referring to, that drink that shall not be named, the Voldemort of beverages.

So next time you’re feeling a little peaky the morning after try one of these  more civilized “remedies” that will have you feeling frisky again in two shakes of a dogs tail. First the classic , then a bunch of interpretations.

Corpse Reviver #2

3/4 oz gin

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand dry Curacao

3/4 ounce Cocchi Aperitivo Americano (original recipe called for Lillet blanc)

1/4 oz of absinthe to wash and perfume the glass.

optional lemon twist

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Combine ingredients over ice, shake vigorously  for about 30-40 seconds , add the absinthe to glass and swish it around then pour off the excess, strain your shaken cocktail into chilled  absinthe washed coupette. A garnish is unnecessary, but different recipes call for either a twist of lemon or a real maraschino cherry.

Beggs & Acon Flip

Ok so this one takes a wee bit of planning ahead , if you are not into the idea of smoking your beer then I forgive you , go without but it does add a lovely element to the drink, maybe save it for the moment when you want to show off to your mates.

1 can or bottle of dark beer, I opted for Old chub scotch ale

1 whole egg

1 oz bacon fat washed bourbon  ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water)

5 drops of Miracle Mile chocolate chilli bitters

1/2 oz Ramazotti Amaro

Smoking gun optional to add some smoke to your beer

Hickory  wood chips for feeding to the smoking gun monster

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

To smoke your beer add your wood chips to the chamber in the smoker, open your beer and pour a wee bit off, insert the nozzle from gun into the can or bottle and seal off with plastic wrap so your smoke does not escape. Set your wood alight and turn the gun on, smoke your beer for about 1 minute, turn off your gun and let the beer sit for about 5 mins swish the beer around lightly to get the smoke and liquid molecules mixed.

Once your beer  is ready, add everything to your Boston shaker except for the beer, give a quick dry shake to emulsify the egg, add ice and shake again for 40 seconds or thereabouts. Double strain into your vessel of choice, I am currently enamored by these half pint milk bottles that make me think of infant school morning recess. Any way I wandered off , then add your smoked (or unsmoked) ale.

 

Fernet Sour

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca or  sub out a milder bitter depending on your cohones

1 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to hot water, let cool before using)

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 egg white

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Throw everything into your Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for about 20 seconds to wake up your egg white and make it fluffy. Add ice and shake again for 30- 40 seconds, strain into your chilled vessel and brace yourself!

 

The June Bug

1 oz fresh kale juice

1 1/2 oz  silver tequila

1 oz Cocchi Americano

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

4 drops Miracle Mile yuzu bitters

pinch fine salt

cracked black pepper and lime wheels to garnish

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

throw everything but your garnish into a Boston shaker with cracked ice, shake for 40 seconds or so or until your tin gets nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, add your lime wheels and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.

 

In My Time Of Dying

1 1/2 oz gin, my favorite at minute is Ford’s gin for the 86 Company, Plymouth or Beefeater also good choices.

1 oz Salers gentian aperitif

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Maraschino

1/2 oz Creme  Yvette or Violette, ( delicate floral flavor and gives a lovely gothic look to your drinks)

1 egg white

1 oz or so of champagne ( club soda will do in a pinch)

spritz of absinthe.

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

So I saw this technique of layering from the crew at Pouring Ribbons in NY,which reminded me of the classic Pousse Cafe drinks of long ago drank after the coffee course ( pousse cafe translates to push coffee and was a pretty layered drink made from sweet cordials that were layered with spirits such as cognac). The Ribbons team make a Negroni-esque drink thats just fantastic, I employed similar technique to make this once shaken sour into something slightly more dramatic and  deconstructed. You will need one big chunk of ice to accomplish the layering correctly, Cocktail Kingdom sells  silicon cube trays that do the job.

In your chilled old fashioned glass add your Violette or Creme Yvette, top with the oz of bubbles and plop in your ice cube. In your shaker dry shake the rest of your ingredients except for your absinthe. Add ice and shake again for another 30-40 seconds, strain allowing your ribbon or stream of liquid to pour gently onto your ice cube, if you do it too fast it will disrupt the liqueur at bottom and get too mixed up. Spoon out some of the foam on top and give a spritz of absinthe to finish drink, the lemon twist is optional, as a painter I am into colors and the yellow adds a touch of drama to the whole presentation.

Note: the technique might sound a bit complicated but once you get a hang of it , its a doddle to do.

 

Kombucha green tea gimlet

2 oz gin of choice thats been infused with a couple of  big spoons of  green tea leaves per 750 ml bottle of booze, you can also sub out vodka if thats your preference.

1 oz Salers gentian apertif

1/2 oz  Pierre Ferrand Curacao or other orange liqueur if you cant get a hold of the good stuff.

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 1/2 oz of Kombucha, I used ready made Lavender Kombucha from GT’s

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

throw everything into your mixing glass with cracked ice and give a good stir for about 40 seconds, strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with a lemon wheel and  a sprig of  mint.

 

The Basics

How to  fat wash a spirit

you will need:

1 cup of warm bacon fat, you can also use browned butter, chorizo or duck fat

1 750 ml  bottle of booze, I used Buffalo trace

a wide mouth jar

Add both your fat and booze to the jar, screw on lid,  give a good shake and let sit for a couple of hours. Put the jar in the freezer until the fat has solidified , get a spoon and smash the fat layer and pull off from the booze. Strain the liquor through a coffee strainer and then seal up in an airtight container such as the original bottle the booze came in.

Cocktail Kingdom Ice Tray $6.95

Nick and Nora cocktail glass

Creme Yvette

 Creme Yvette is a cordial that is about 100 years old, it was taken off the market in 1969 am sure due to lack of interest, it was revived recently by the good man behind St. Germain, Robert Cooper who’s family owned the recipe for Yvette since the 1930′s. The primary flavors are of fresh violet , cassis and wild strawberries. It should be used sparingly in drinks so that its delicacy can add a lovely nuance to your drinks rather than over power it, a splash with your favorite bubbly makes a fine starter to any party.

 Pierre Ferrand dry Curacao

I would recommend searching this baby out, its a gorgeous addition to any cocktail that calls for orange liqueur.

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