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

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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. 010 In my time of dying

 

 

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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

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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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