Issue No.040 “Tails from the Bookworm” White Rabbit

 

 

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a bit of an aging Hippie ( my Pops I can hear groaning in his grave ) who spent a good portion of my Teen years hunting for legit Hash, baking edibles ,  stoned  or coming off a bad trip ( several and some quite embarrassing episodes including being convinced street lights were instead aliens chasing after me as I ducked behind cars ; I kid not) am thrilled to see this current abundance  of Nootropics flooding the market . What’s a Nootropic? A collective word for   smart drugs or cognitive enhancers , plant based CBD is one and there are several  amino acids such as L-Theanine and Levodopa that have similar functions . Ginkgo Biloba is another and though it has shown in clinical trails to have little effect somehow when I put some into a smoothie I turn into an intense version of the energizer Bunny, and am pretty intense already.

I also recently happened upon  a recording of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit ” , Miss Slick’s vocals have been isolated for a breathtaking, goose bump inducing rendition of the song , listen to it here, a song synonymous with the Psychedelic movement of the mind expanding  Sixties.  The song can be interpreted in a couple of ways either to promote drugs or as a warning of a bad trip,  in my mind,  as the song progresses the imagery gets darker and the way the crescendo of the song builds it also implies  bad vibes man . Nootropics have the adverse effect , no killing buzzes, nor chopping off bunny rabbit’s heads, nor street lights out to zap you , just smooth , mind expanding thrills !

So I figured I would use White Rabbit  as my jumping off point for this issue , including “bumps ” of  Nootropics in my recipes ,  my visuals have been enhanced to give the colors a lurid , oversaturated, Tomfoolery  look . And while technically this is not my usual  book dissertation , the song is based on a book . As a bonus , we get to examine that original Badass protagonist Alice and what perhaps drove her to dive into a dark hole after that  strange rabbit . I should mention that Patrick my Photographer  for the blog these past few years is tending to his Mum who is poorly so have been left to my own devices , bought a camera , styled and shot the pics myself , they’re not quite as profesh as Dear Paddy’s but they’ll more than do .

Here for your head bending pleasure my imbibable   interpretations inspired by  “White Rabbit” and excerpts from “Alice in Wonderland ”

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small

And the pills that Mother gives you , don’t do anything at all

Consider if you will that “pill” . As well as enhancing pills , the word  can also refer to a reductive experience or influence , “pill” an urban slang for an annoying person ,”one pill makes you small “ that pill can be anyone that tries to minimize and mind-bend us  into insignificance placating with empty placebos, medicating to dull the senses “those pills that mother gives us, don’t do anything at all” . I like to imagine Alice has had enough of being squished or told who to be , waking from boredom she  sees that rabbit, a potential metaphor for her curiosity  as her chance to grow, in her case literally and figuratively .

After  falling  down into the dark the first place Alice  finds herself is in a hallway with many locked doors, an allegory for opportunity , except in her current state there’s no chance that Alice will fit into any of these “doors”.  So she has to take a pill or drink a tonic to adapt to her new surroundings  except with unexpected consequences  .

Go ask Alice,  when she’s ten feet tall

 

E (motion) Potion

My liquid offering is a refreshing  blend of rhubarb and florals with a hint of L-Dopa a supplemental  amino acid that turns into dopamine in the brain enhancing  stamina, pleasure stimuli  and sexual function , the most pronounced side effect with larger does of L-Dopa is an inability to control muscles so no OD’ing please !

For the drink :
1 1/2 oz Cap rock Gin
1 1/2 oz rhubarb and rose geranium consommé ( recipe follows)
1 oz Brovo pink Vermouth
1 oz red verjus
1 drop vanilla
2 dashes Peychauds bitters
1 dropper full  L-Dopa ( buy the liquid form here )
spritz of absinthe
spritz of lemon oil from a peel

For the Rhubarb /geranium consommé :

1000 grams rhubarb stalks chopped into 1 inch pieces
500 grams organic cane sugar
1 quart or 32 oz of water
1 cup of fresh rose geranium leaves (  I grow these but you can also request at your Farmers market )

Add the rhubarb, sugar, rose geranium and water  to a large metal bowl
Wrap the bowl  several times with plastic wrap making sure that is is completely sealed and that no steam will escape, its the steams job to pull out all the flavor from the rhubarb and geranium , without it your concoction will burn .

Place the mummified bowl on top a  large pan thats half filled with water, this is your ersatz    bain-marie , then set onto a medium flame on your stove top.

Allow to steam for up to two hours

When finished allow to cool before removing the plastic wrap, dump contents into a chinoise strainer set over a pitcher to collect the resulting consommé

Store consommé in an airtight container in fridge until ready to use .

 

 

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Add everything to your mixing glass with 5-6 ice cubes and stir for about 10 seconds .
Strain into your vessel of choice , spritz over lemon peel and absinthe
Optional edibles on the side !

 

*******

 

And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall 

As the second chapter opens Alice has increased to an enormous size and becomes so frustrated , hot and bothered that she starts to cry, she finds a fan and starts to cool herself down, the fan also helps her to  shrink down to the size of a mouse , except she is so small she is in danger of drowning in the pool of tears she wept as a giant Alice.

In Miss Slick’s version the song goes ” And if you go chasing Rabbits , and you know you’re going to fall ” infers risk taking, as with any adventure wether its meta or physical , Alice has chased that frantic rabbit in search of answers  and perhaps if she had an energy boost she could have caught up with him, instead she becomes lost and almost drowns in her own tears .

As the floods subside the white rabbit appears again and mistakes Alice for his maid  , he sends her into the house to retrieve a pair of  gloves and a fan for the Duchess that he has misplaced . Inside the house Alice starts to grow again back into her giant self . She’s drank the potion and eaten the cake and now has no control of her body. To me this all sounds familiar dealing with irrationality and whacked logic , reminds me of my experience  being chased by street lights , I lost all control and was thrust into an alternative world with a skewed perception of reality .

Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run, Run, RUN!

Alice would have been well advised to drink this next potion to keep up with that anxious bunny , made using a favorite rabitty treat, carrots .

For the drink :

1 1/2  oz fresh carrot juice
1 1/2  oz pandan infused sake (recipe follows)
1/2 oz Manzanilla sherry
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dropper full of Ginkgo Biloba for that manic , rabbit chasing boost (buy it here)
garnish with coconut cotton candy ( a match made in heaven with carrots ) and represents the fluff of a rabbit’s tail .
Optional I dusted over a pinch of luster dust and a pinch of beet powder for an even more festive ( since its Easter ) feel , both can be found on Amazon .
I also gave my glass a spritz of coriander scent from potion master Mandy Aftel

For the Pandan Sake :

1 quart of dry sake ( does not have to be pricey, the inexpensive sake will do )
100 grams of dried pandan leaves

Add everything to a ziplock bag and either sous vide at 55 degrees C for 2 hours using your Polyscience immersion circulator or place bag in a bath of hot water to speed up infusion process , the only drawback with this method is it takes longer and you need to keep adding more hot water.

Strain and store in an airtight container until ready to use .

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Add everything to your shaker tin except for the garnish  with 5-6 ice cubes
Shake for 5 seconds and strain into a vessel of choice , I used  this rabbit  eared trinket cup , you know for a bit of fun .
If using spritz , spray over glass before adding cotton candy which will start to dissolve if it gets expose to moisture too fast .
Top with the coconut cotton candy and dust over optional luster  and beet powders .

*******

Tell em a Hookah smoking caterpillar, has given you the call

And ask Alice , when she was just small

 

Once more Alice finds herself   in a  pickle , she’s grown too big for the house , her arms dangling out of the windows and scaring all the animal neighbors , who in turn start to throw pebbles at her, the pebbles magically turning into mini cakes which Alice , remembering the cakes in this place make her change size , starts to eat   , shrinking back down to a smaller size, again she goes a couple of bites  too far and becomes as tiny as an insect  .

She gets out of the house and finds herself in a grassy  garden  where she spies a mushroom, sitting on top is a blue caterpillar smoking a Hookah pipe and puffing  out large rings of smoke . He sees Alice staring and questions her ” who are you?”. In the song the interpretation is that the caterpillar poses a more existential question , really who are you ?

 

When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go

And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know

 

Hooooo(kah) are YOU?!

Perhaps if Alice had taken a couple of hits from that Hookah she would have discovered herself  sooner, or at least had a bit more fun finding out .

The drink that follows is pass-aroundable and uses a large flask from the folks at Urban Bar ware in London . The drink is Mezcal based to complement the smokey aroma  that it gets finished with, to make it even more buzz worthy its laced with a vial or two of CBD oil to mellow out that “What is the meaning of life ” angst that Alice is sure to be having  after all that sugary cake , or at least thats what  happens to me with too much sugar,so maybe I’m just projecting on our Heroine .

CBD is also the antithesis to Jefferson Airplane’s bad trip ending in White Rabbit   instead it results in a nice mellow , peaceful “high “. Something  I think Alice would be looking forward to after her illogical journey through Wonderland .

 

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead

And the white knight is talking backwards

And the red queen’s off with her head

Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head, feed your head!

 

For the drink :
(enough for 2-4 
tokers)

6 oz mezcal
8 oz pineapple syrup ( equal parts pineapple juice and simple syrup )
4 oz PX sherry
4 oz Manzanilla sherry
2 oz lime juice
12 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters
4 dashes Scrappy’s firewater tincture
4 capsules worth Blue Majik spirulina  ( empty powder out of capsules and discard capsule shells)
8 drops of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
4 oz aguafaba or egg white.
1 vial CBD per person ( approx 1/8 of an oz )

For garnish you will need a smoking gun , buy from Amazon, Polyscience is may favorite by far but you can also make a smoker from a cooking pot, a plastic tube and some plastic wrap ( add wood chips to be smoked into cooking pot , wrap with plastic wrap, poke a hole into plastic and thread one end of pipe into pot – secure with electrical tape – and the other end of the pipe into the vessel you’ll be serving the drink from . The wood chips inside the pan get set on fire the plastic wrap stops smoke from escaping so the only place it can go is through the pipe and into your glass , its very basic  but if you don’t want to invest in the smoking gun this is an experimental way of achieving similar results ).

 

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Add portions of all ingredients  to your shaking tin/s and whip shake with 2 ice cubes for 10 seconds until you get a nice head of foam on the top of the drink, you can probably fit half of this amount in two tins , either double shake , one in each hand or  get your friends involved since they’ll be partaking in the fun why not involve them in the process of whipping the drink up.

Via a funnel pour the cocktail batch into your serving vessel

Place smoking tube inside bottle or glass and turn your smoking gun on or set fire to your wood chips and allow smoke to fill up bottle/glass.

Drink immediately!

 

Issue No.038 “Tails From The Bookworm” Annie Hall

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ew Yawwkers love to hate Los Angeles, from experience I know this , I lived in the city that never sleeps for fourteen of my years, and have now been in LA for almost six, my die hard NY friends turn their nose up when I suggest they come and experience life on the west coast, its just not cool to live here so they say. I like to think of myself as an honorary NYer, I mean after battling through fourteen sweltering summers and frigid winters, countless subway rides with weirdos leering at me ,  been held up at knife and gun point, and turning a blind eye to all the literal and figurative rats I feel I’ve done my time in the trenches and deserve some sort of badge of honor, no ? I also have a luff hate thing going on with LA, so I think its appropro that I write this story.

I moved to Los Angeles to reset my life, to escape the constant clamoring of sirens and tourists and players OH MY! LA has been good to me, because I’m not constantly focusing on my survival or recovering from the exhaustion of the fight I have opened up time and energy  to focus on my creativity and and my general wellbeing, I live minutes from the beach ( that yes I rarely visit, too many people ) but that cool ocean air and misty mountains surrounding to the north of me are a tonic to my nervous system.  Through all of this though I have many moments that I yearn for the thrill of NY’s  vibrant energy where anything is possible, including bugs being tossed at you on the subway,  Los Angeles seems so boring and  pedestrian in comparison.

In this issue  I thought I would pay tribute to New York via that quintessential  LA hater Woody Allen and his nervous romance Annie Hall I know not technically a book but at one point it started life as a screen play which is written word and good enough for me .The poster above is in Polish, thats me representing my heritage in this post, this  issue is  also a loose ode to the  fifteen year  anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and those iconic twin towers the  double exclamation marks at the end of the gritty sentence that is New York City ,  Yo!!

The premise of this edition is taking classic  beverages and either dirtying them up NYC style or making them healthful a LA mode

Nazis and Neurosis 

Woody’s character is called Alvy Singer, a Jewish boy raised in Brooklyn who made good by becoming a famous comic , we first meet him as he laments to the camera the downfall of his relationship with Annie , he can’t seem to grasp what went wrong. In the next scene  he’s waiting at the movies for his girl  to appear,  as he waits his comedic self is recognized by a couple of teamster looking guys that he refers to as the cast of The Godfather, one of which pesters him for his autograph for his brudder . Annie finally shows up  looking depressed, Alvy complains its too late to see the movie ( it started two minutes before) and that he has to see a flick from start to fin, so he suggests they go watch a documentary on the holocaust instead,cheery activity for a Saturday afternoon!  Annie reluctantly agrees . As they wait in line Alvy complains about the guy behind dissecting and critiquing  Fellini’s  film efforts rather too loudly like he’s trying to impress his date , it winds Alvy up to no end ,to distract himself  he asks Annie why she’s depressed , her response that she missed her therapy appointment tightens his ticking time bomb of frustration even further  , he calls it a selfish gesture since they are having problems in the sack and the therapist is helping her work through the issues  she has with Alvy who I should mention at a precocious six years old was already lusting after the opposite sex.

My first offering to accompany Alvy’s neurosis and the melancholy of the film would be that classic movie snack popcorn and a coke, except how about trying it healthy  LA style without all those chemicals and corn syrup, I know how I hear you, how can it be any good if its not the classic, coma inducing formula . Well I think mine comes pretty bloody close, the caffeine kick comes from oolong tea, a cross between green and back teas and packed with natural  stimulants,  its sweetened by a mix of coconut sugar , dates and for color  a bit of  burnt organic cane sugar syrup with veggie bouillon, yes indeed  ! The syrup takes a couple of hours to make but you will be glad you tried it, scent wise it comes ridiculously close and taste wise too but a little more aromatic. Make it as sweet or as not as you feel, its the real, real thing !

“The Real Thing”

For the “Cola ” syrup

Tools
*A large pitcher
*A chinoise strainer
*A heavy bottomed pan or an immersion circulator and bath
*A Y peeler
*A measuring cup

For the syrup
1/3 of a cup of dried oolong tea
1 ½ quarts of boiling water
1 Navel orange both peel and juice
2 lemons both peel and juice
2 black limes ( from most Middle Eastern stores or Amazon)
4 cinnamon sticks broken up ( I used a hammer)
6 star anise pods ( whole stars not just seeds)

2 cups date syrup and 1 ½ cups coconut sugar or 3 cups organic cane sugar ( more if you want it sweeter)
¼ oz vanilla extract
¼ cup of bitter orange peel ( from your local brew shop or again Amazon)
½ a teaspoon of veggie bouillon
Optional 3 oz of Tipplemans Burnt Sugar syrup ( Amazon)
Start by steeping your tea in the boiling water
Strain and pour into either your heavy bottomed pan or your ziplock bag
To your pan or bag add your lemon and orange peel, black limes, cinnamon, bitter orange and star anise
In the pan bring to a simmer, then turn heat way down and cover pan allowing aromatics to infuse, in the bag add to your water bath, set immersion circulator to 55 degrees C.
“Cook” for 1 ½ hours , place infusion in fridge overnight to get nice and flavorful
Strain and add lemon and orange juice , vanilla, coconut nectar or cane sugar, bouillon and Burnt sugar syrup
Stir well and refrigerate before serving .

Note: You will need 2 parts of Cola syrup to  4 parts Soda water for a glass of the real “real thing”.

For the Real Thing Cocktail

2 1/2 oz of “Cola” syrup
1 1/2 oz white rum ( I used #62 from Rum Society)
1/2 oz PX sherry ( a raisinated sweet sherry)
1/4 oz lime juice
2 dashes chocolate bitters
2 oz soda water

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Add everything to your shaker tin with 5 ice cubes, don’t shake stir to chill the mixture.
Transfer mixture to a your carbonation system (  I used Perlini’s cocktail shaker )
Charge with Co2 and wait for gas to subside before opening
Pour into your vessel of choice .
Serve with a side of popcorn tossed with coconut oil, smoked salt and Togarashi spice

Sacked in the sack

In an attempt to understand whats troubling their relationship Alvy  and Annie discuss his past  sexual relationships with his two ex wives which we watch  via  flash back, the first who was sexually voracious  and turned him off for wanting him too much , the second who found it impossible to climax. He can understand why those two marriages failed but with Annie, things are different, in the beginning they would have a blast doing ordinary  things like buying books, sitting in the park or driving in her VW bug at rapid speeds, somehow somewhere Annie has lost interest in Alvy and he delves even deeper into memories to try figuring out the root cause .

My suggestion at this point would be a good dose of lettuce juice , whats that you say , why lettuce ? Ask the ancient Chinese, they believe that lettuce contains a powerful aphrodisiac , something to do with the minerals within that create a potent love potion to get your mojo moving, your groove grinding and  your bits pumping.

Green Manalishi

Take the standard green juice and dirty it up with a shot of smoky , earthy Mezcal

1 oz Mezcal ( La Nina Espadin or Del Maguey Vida are my choices )
1 oz Floc de gascogne or Pineau des charentes  ( a wine based aperitif )
1 1/2 oz romaine lettuce juice
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
3 dashes Miracle Mile celery bitters
pinch smoked salt for garnish
seasonal green garnish ( I used wood sorrel above but fennel flowers or celery leaves work too)

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your shaker with 5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds
Strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice, preferably one giant cube
finish with pinch of smoked salt and garnish with greenery

Tennis elbow or  speak to me in shellfish 

Flashback to Annie and Alvy’s first meeting , a tennis doubles match set up by friends, after Annie invites him up to her place for some wine and awkward conversation that via mental subtitles we realize is actually flirtation ,  they both start to realize they’re into each other, after having sex on their second date Alvy is a neurotic mess and Annie chills out by smoking some grass, a portent of things to come.  Cut to another scene with Alvy reminiscing about  a weekend getaway with them trying to corral lobsters into the pot , both of them hooting with laughter and screaming as the ill fated  lobsters try scuttling off behind the fridge sensing their imminent butter drenched doom.

I figure some light refreshment at this point would come in the form of California Chardonnay, great for their rooftop scene or to pair with shellfish, the first cocktail I experienced  in NY was a classic martini, its also rumored that the dry martini was invented in the Knickerbocker Hotel in NY . In the EU when you ask for a martini you’ll get a glass of martini vermouth served over ice with a twist or olives, same premise but packing way less  of a spirited punch, a dirty gin martini still happens to be one of my all time favorites though these days I’m drinking it as a 50/50 half gin and half vermouth, great if you want to keep your night going a little longer as I suspect Annie and Alvy would want to do , only in this case  using some Cali chardonnay  instead of dry  vermouth .

The Long Shot Martini

1 1/2 oz London dry gin
1 1/2 oz Broc Cellars Neutral Chardonnay ( great with Lobster)
1 1/2 oz olive brine , my current addiction is to castelvetrano olives, salty without being bullies

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Stir in a mixing glass for 10 seconds with a scoop of ice
Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe
Garnish with olives or a couple of cucumber slices

LA Woman

Alvy’s neurosis  starts to get the better of him, he  becomes a man obsessed with Annie, she catches him following her as she innocently  walks arm in arm with another man, Annie starts to feel stifled by him and annoyed by his lack of support for her aspirations  so she  breaks it off with him, Alvy still hanging on to the idea that he’s done nothing wrong questions random people in the street about the success of their relationships , his agent Rob encourages him to start dating other women. He agrees to go on  a blind date with a writer for Rolling Stone mag , whilst consummating their first night together   the date gets cut short when he gets a frantic call from damsel in distress  Annie , can he come over to kill the spiders in her bathtub, spiders as big as a Buick are as good an excuse as any to restart their romantic dialogue , Annie extends a peace offering of chocolate milk, Alvy  the knight in shining armor slays the dragon, erm spider  his reward a giant case of Miss Hall.

A few days after they get back together , Annie has a gig at a local club singing her usual torch songs, Alvy is there naturally perpetuating their push , pull relationship . Tony Lacy excited by Annie’s performance introduces himself as a Hollywood music producer and man about town , asks if she has representation and  invites them to go hang out with Jack and Anjelica, you know the it couple of seventies New York. Alvy declines for them saying they have a “thing” afterward but Annie is obviously into the idea, Tony tells her to look him up if she ever in LA. Coincidentally Alvy’s agent  Rob suggests he present a TV  award in LA that winter, Annie joins him and  they spend Christmas in LA. Driving through town  Annie Remarks how clean Los Angeles is, Alvy quips  “Its so clean because they don’t throw their trash out they turn it into TV shows” , later they wind up at a house party hosted by none other than Mr.Lacy, much to Alvy’s displeasure. The next day as he preps for the award ceremony Alvy starts to feel ill, complaining of feeling nauseous , perhaps disgusted from watching Rob add canned laughter to a skit he’s just recorded either that or he’s anxious of presenting an award for crap TV , as he’s lying in bed with a Doctor by his side, Annie lets him know that he needn’t worry they found a replacement presenter for him, Alvy miraculously recovers  and starts to chowing down on boiled chicken .

Boiled chicken for an upset tum never much worked for me ,ginger ale or ginger beer are the usually prescriptions I’ve been offered but  my own  miracle elixir is anything gentian based and bitter, Fernet especially  puts me right pretty much in minutes.

The Franciscan

The drink of choice for many a San Franciscan Barfly is Fernet and ginger, I Californiafied it with Ginger water Kefir, water Kefir is sparkling probiotic beverage that helps restore the healthy flora in your gut , mixed with Fernet I think Mr.Singer would have been much happier than eating his boiled chicken regardless of where the drink hails from .

For the Ginger water Kefir

Tools

1 large sterilized mason jar
Muslin or a clean tea towel
Elastic bands
A chinoise strainer
1 large plastic soda bottle with cap ( cleaned out please)
Measuring spoon
Measuring cup

Kefir ingredients
4 cups of  water
1 tablespoon prepared water kefir grains ( that have been soaked in sugar water to wake them up)
1 oz lemon juice
4 1/2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup ginger juice or chopped ginger if a juicer is not handy

Pour  everything  into your mason jar
Add the kefir grains and cover with the muslin or tea towel, secure with elastic bands
Store at room temp and out of sunlight for 48 hours
Strain and transfer to your clean soda bottle, at this point you can add some  botanical flavorings if you wish .
Leave at least 2 inches of space at the top of the bottle, screw on cap tightly and store out of sunlight until carbonated. The beauty of the plastic bottle is it will fill up with gas and turn rock solid letting you know its ready.

Store in fridge to stop fermentation

Note : must be consumed within a month, mine lasts a day or so. Water kefir grains can also be used to make a delicious sparkling wine

For the drink

2 oz Fernet Branca
4 oz ginger water kefir

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Fill a tall glass with ice
Pour in Fernet and top with  sparkling ginger kefir
garnish with a lemon or lime wheel

Dead Sharks and Mashed Yeast

Returning from LA, Annie and Alvy  realize they’re headed on different paths she dreaming of being an LA woman  he likens their relationship to a dead shark, they agree to  call it quits on the plane , Annie returns to LA to take up with her music producer, Alvy trying to reconcile how easy it was for her to leave him pines after her and comes up with a plan to win her back  , he goes back to  LA where he meets her at a health food restaurant  on Sunset Blvd , he  orders a plate of alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast,  she’s not too pleased at him being there and gets annoyed with his yet again questioning what she’s doing with her life . She storms off , he races after her but she drives away into the sunset, frustrated he tries to follow her in his giant yacht of a convertible car but he can’t even maneuver it out of the parking lot, he gets arrested for causing a scene and spends the night in a lock up, giving him time to ruminate over his errors . Its interesting too that Woody uses the symbolism of white clothing to show LA people as enlightened creatures who can wear white because LA is so clean in comparison to the grime of NY.

The movie ends with Alvy writing a play about their relationship only he changes the ending to where Annie goes back to NY with him.

Rather than the unappetizing plate of mashed yeast I thought perhaps a glass of mashed avocado smoothie would go down a little easier, its sullied with a mix of Tikiesque ingredients , Tiki being a movement that was big in CA , its  topped off with sprouts yes, but  the flowering cilantro variety . The glass is wrapped on the inside with a Hoja Santa leaf or a “Sainted” leaf for  Holier than thou white clothed saints of Los Angeles .

Yogi’s Choice
The drink is called Yogi’s choice since you can choose to drink it boozy or booze free. If you choose no booze add 1 oz of coconut or date nectar to sweeten it up .

1 ripe avocado
2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz aged rum
1 /2 oz mezcal
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Velvet Falernum
drop vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut oil

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Add everything to your blender with a 5 or 6 ice cubes  and blend on high for until avocado is completely mashed . You can omit the ice cubes if you ,like me  prefer warm beverages, I am English after all!
Transfer into a tall glass and garnish with cilantro sprouts

FIN

Issue No.036 “Tails from the Bookworm” Far from the Madding Crowd

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omance novels have never been my thing , you know the ones,those blouse ripping tomes where man falls for girl, girl shuns man, she gets into trouble through her strong headed nature and is saved by that knight in shining armor that she previously abhorred . Though I love a good romantic story I’m more attracted to fantastic or mysterious stories rather than naturalistic ones like Far From the Madding Crowd written by British novelist and poet Thomas Hardy ( no, not that strapping nemesis playing fellow Tom Hardy ) . Madding however is a beautiful story , one of only a couple that captivated me into awake mode during my English lit classes back in the day , you see my lit teacher was an old bore of a man , with coffee tainted breath and rumpled tweed suits that could send a whirling dervish to sleep and he would dissect a story into oblivion so that you had no idea what the meaning of it all was. However, why Madding managed to knock me out of my day dreams was due to the female protagonist Bathsheba Everdene , an untamable slightly haughty lass who preferred her independence to being a man’s beck and call, she captivates the hearts of three men, interestingly each one depicts very different interpretations  of what it means to love , one obsesses over her, one wants to protect her and be her equal and one who abuses her . She states toward the end of the book when asked to explain herself “It is difficult for me to express my feelings in a language chiefly made for men to express theirs” , I’m sure the suffrage movement was well on its way when Hardy wrote of Bathsheba’s strong will and refusal to be put into a box but the fact that he created such an inspiring character shows us that not all men back then were misogynistic neanderthals .

What makes this story so appropriate for me at this minute is this disturbing political climate in this country of “women’s cards” and governments passing laws that allow women to be raped when they’re passed out drunk, it feels like we are headed back into the dark ages when a man could grab a by the hair and drag her off into his cave , though Far From the Madding Crowd is set in Victorian times Hardy and our heroine Miss Everdene are thoroughly modern in their outlook , thank goodness!

WINTER

Our story starts with Bathsheba , a proud beauty joining her aunt on her farm for the winter, we first meet her as she’s tilling  the frozen earth  to turn it over for seed planting in the coming months . On occasion she rides her horse astride ( not side saddle as ladies of that era would) through the copse delighting in the intermingling smells of wet soil, hoof oil and horse sweat. It is on on of these afternoon rides that she is spied by her first love interest, Gabriel Oak a young sheep farmer with the savings of his frugal life, who is intent on buying his farm out right and on becoming the master of his own destiny , he is described as a faithful and good man , hard working and moral and true to his word, in other words he’s a bit of a catch in them there parts . Bathsheba and Gabriel grow to like each other becoming friends . However when Gabriel makes her an offer of marriage she declines since she values her independence over her feelings for  Farmer Oak. A few days later she leaves for the village of Weatherbury , some miles away . The next time they meet their circumstances have changed drastically , Oak has lost all of his sheep due to an inexperienced sheep dog , young George, who drives the flock over the cliff one spring night . He manages to pay what he owes to his lenders and moves on to find work and rebuild himself elsewhere . Bathsheba on the other hand is now a landowner, having inherited her uncle’s farm she is now the Mistress of a small estate .

To honor Farmer Oak, the drink below is a combination of the Brits love of tea for a shock, Sheep milk ( for the obvious ) and spirit, I mean after losing two hundred sheep a stiff drink would be most necessary .

The Madness of Young George

I love tea in cocktails but to get a full flavor from black tea you have to do a super intense infusion which means that the tannins become way too strong and bitter and take over the rest of the drink. To balance the tannins out I use Dave Arnold’s method of milk washing the tea ( appropriate since Brits drink their tea with milk) the casein in the milk latches onto the tannins and strips them from the spirit leaving only the aromatic flavor of the tea, its similar to doing an egg wash where the proteins soften both the effect of the spirit and the tea . Clarifying spirits and cocktails are not a new thing they’ve been around since the 1800’s but it takes a genius like Chef Arnold to make them relevant again.

The drink is delicious just by itself over rocks with a lemon twist, for that added barnyard flavor I finished it with a toasted hay goat milk foam

Milk washed Earl Grey tea vodka

1 750ml bottle vodka
4 earl grey tea bags
1/2 cup of sheep or goat milk ( goat milk gets the spirit more clear than cow milk)
1/2 oz lemon juice

Steep the tea in the vodka for a good 12 hours if not using your trusty immersion circulator, 1 hour if you are using . Strain tea and set aside making sure its totally cooled down before you mix with milk.

In a clear  lidded container pour in the milk, slowly add the tea infused vodka stirring it in, then gradually add drops of the lemon juice stirring lightly until the milk solids begin to separate . Allow to rest for at least 4-5 hours in the fridge before straining off the curds.  The result should be a totally clear pale yellow liquid.

Toasted hay goat milk foam

8 oz goat or sheep milk
2 hay scented egg whites
1/2 oz honey syrup

turn your oven onto 350 degrees , line a small sheet tray with parchment paper and layer on top fresh green hay ( I used alfalfa)  which you can get from your pet store. The hay should be evenly spread on sheet tray so that it all gets toasted .

Once hay has gotten a nice deep yellow color and has a rich aroma, remove and put into a plastic container , nestle 2-3 eggs in their shells in the hay and store in the fridge overnight  ( you could be doing this whilst the tea is being milk washed )

when ready to make the foam add everything to your ISI chamber and charge with two No2 cartridges , the drink needs to be served straight away so the foam stays light and airy .

For the drink

2 oz  milk washed tea vodka
1 oz white verjus
1 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz drambuie
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water)
barspoon benedictine
2 dashes orange bitters
finish off with an optional toasted hay goat milk foam

 

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything but the foam and lemon twist to your mixing glass and stir for 10 seconds with 6 ice cubes , strain into your vessel of choice either ice filled or as I chose in a mini milk bottle without ice , top with a lemon twist and your optional milk foam.

SPRING

Farmer Oak finds himself heading to a hiring fair , on his way there he happens upon a dangerous fire on a farm and leads the farm workers in putting the fire out, dousing himself with water he climbs upon the burning roofs and hacks the fire to death. When the veiled owner comes to thank him he asks if she needs a shepherd, though somewhat uncomfortable she agrees and so they reunite with her having the upper hand which is exactly where she likes to be .

Meanwhile the fair Miss Everdene has attracted another suitor, a middle aged gentlemen farmer Mr.Boldwood who whilst considered an extremely eligible bachelor by the locals is lonely and repressed, not exactly a ball of fun but fully loaded. He becomes a man obssessed . Bathsheba attracts his attention somewhat unwittingly after she sees him at market and he does not give her the customary glance that all men bestow upon her, she sends him as a joke a Valentines card that reads “Marry Me” , pretty wicked of her really! Boldwood not realizing the card was a joke turns into a man possessed and he eventually proposes marriage to her too, she tinkers with the idea after all his fortune would more than assure her safety and comfort for the rest of her life , so she postpones giving him a firm answer so as not to let him down completely , Gabriel on learning of her actions rebukes her for being so thoughtless and for that she fires him.

Ambrose Heath suggests rhubarb as a fruit option at this time of year and its blushing pink color is perfect for the Valentines time of year, I attempted to make a Victorianesque V-day card in the tableau below . You may wonder why three cups, well one for each of B’s suitors and once for the lady herself .

Kiss Me You (Rhubarb) Fool

Rhubarb is  a vegetable thats available from spring to early summer around the time of Valentines day , its beautiful pink hue and vegetal aroma pairs beautifully with strawberries the chosen fruit of this holiday for lovers . A fool is a dessert that has fruit folded into whipped cream and sometimes egg whites . My liquid version is made using rhubarb consommé .

Rhubarb consomme

1000 grams diced rhubarb
100 grams water
5oo grams cane sugar
1 vanilla bean ( optional ) seeded and popped into bowl

you will need either a  warm water bath and immersion circulator or a bain marie consisting of a bowl and a saucepan filled to half with water ( so that it does not touch the bottom of the bowl when placed on top)

add everything to either a ziplock bag or  large stainless steel bowl, if adding to a bag this will get placed into a warm water bath with your immersion circulator set at 55 degrees C. If using a bain marie, wrap the entire bowl securely with plastic wrap and place on top of simmering water, if using the bain marie allow to steam for at least two hours, if using the sous vide method you should have adequate consomme after an hour.

For the drink 

1  oz Rhubarb consomme
1 1/2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz aperol
3/4 oz lemon
1 drop rosewater
1 dash of egg white
top off with Timmerman’s strawberry lambic and  a pinch of pink peppercorn

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything to your shaking tin with 5 ice cubes and shakes for 5 seconds, strain into either chilled coupe glasses or chilled punch glasses ,top off with lambic ale and peppercorns .

LATE SUMMER / FALL HARVEST

Farmer Oak leaves the next day, only has fate would have it Bathsheba winds up needing him back to save her own sheep, sheepses are not the smartest of creatures you put something green that smells fresh and delicious  in front of them and well they’ll eat it, except instead of grass they eat young green clover which causes them to bloat up with gas and if left can blow up their intestines , as you can imagine its not something that can be left to subside by itself and wouldn’t you know it the only man in the county that can fix these poor beasts has just up and left . Bathsheba beside herself calls for one of the farm workers to go track Oak down and bring him back to relieve the sheep, only problem with this plan is that Oak being a proud sort refuses to come back unless the Lady herself apologizes and asks him back herself . So off she rides gathering up her pride and begs him to return ,which he does and saves the day and the sheep. Bathsheba starts to realize that she cannot do without Gabriel and he is falling ever harder for her.

Around this point a dashing young Sergeant Francis Troy returns to Weatherbury his native home and bumps into Bathsheba one night as she’s out for a walk (  a little back ground, Troy was recently jilted  mistakenly  at the alter by his sweetheart Fanny Robbin who shows up to the wrong church, Troy humiliated by these events calls off the wedding) we first think he’s a sensitive fellow being so heartbroken by Fanny’s mistake , or at least I did. But soon Troy shows his true nature to be controlling, egotistical and abusive , but I’m jumping ahead to far….Troy bumps into B and is bewitched by her beauty, she initially dislikes him but agrees to meet him in the hollow the next day and is so excited by his swordsman ship that she allows him to steal one big juicy kiss before he marches off into the woods. They next meet when he shows up at Harvest trying to show Bathsheba that he’s her kind of man, a wheat chopping, haystack making and sheep wrangling heartthrob .

John Barleycorn Must Die

The Ploughman’s lunch is a simple packed lunch that mostly consists of apple, cheese bread and pickle, maybe a beer, its served in pubs across the UK but has its roots as the humble farm workers snack to tide them over until dinner time . Instead of beer I thought perhaps a nice refreshing veggie based low ABV drink would be just the trick .  If you want to make enough for two  and bottle it for your next  roll in the hay double up the amounts, just make sure its served over ice or well chilled.

For the drink 

1 oz Vida Mezcal
1 oz celery and romaine lettuce juice
1 oz floc de gascogne  ( a wine based aperitif)
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
3 dashes of celery bitters ( Miracle Mile is by far the best on the market)

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Shake for 5 seconds with 5 ice cubes and strain into either a chilled ice filled glass or bottle and cap for transporting , serve with sliced apples and a hunk of cheese for eh full experience .

WINTER SOLSTICE

Gabriel noticing her interest in Troy tries to dissuade her from pursuing him but like most proud and stubborn young ladies the more she hears she shouldn’t the more she’ll go in the opposite direction to defy her critics. Troy and Bathsheba elope  and marry igniting anger in Boldwood and disappointment in Oak. Upon their return to the farm Bathsheba begins to realize her new husband is not what she first thought him to be , het gets lazier having no interest in the farm, starts to gamble and drink her money away . A chance encounter  that he has with the innocent  Fanny Robin in the village where she informs him that she’s carrying his child makes Troy despise his wife even more . He arranges with Fanny that she must go find a bed for the night in the work house and he will find money and come and fetch her the next day. The next morning he demands money from his wife who denies him, he storms out and starts walking to the work house on his way passing a horse and cart carrying a coffin, not until he returns home does he learn that its Fanny an his baby in that coffin. He storms out of the house in a rage of grief denouncing his love for Bathsheba , his solution for this pain is to throw himself into the English channel to drown.

A year passes with Troy gone and Boldwood starts to court Bathsheba again,she tells him she will only wed after six years have gone since Troy’s passing, its around Christmas time so Boldwood decides to throw a holiday party for the villagers mainly to show to Miss Everdene what kind of life style lies ahead for her once she marries him. Only Troy is not dead, having been reduced by a fishing boat he learns that Boldwood is once again pursuing his wife and goes back to claim her, he tries to force Bathsheba to return with him and she struggles away, Boldwood seeing her in distress picks up his shot gun and shoots Troy dead. Boldwood is arrested and tried for murder however he does not receive the death sentence since his crime was inspired by passion. Bathsheba distraught with theses events  buries Frank with Fanny and their child  so they may at last lay together once again.

Shot Through the Heart

The classic ” corpse reviver” cocktail was a tongue in cheek name for a morning after or hair of the dog remedy for someone that had enjoyed a little too much of the grog the night before . My version here is for young Frank who comes back from the dead only to be shot and killed , its a good drink to have to shock your system back up and also whilst waiting for an unexpected firing squad .

For the drink

1 1/2 oz of Cognac ( I used Parks)
1/2 oz green chartreuse
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes angostura bitters
the oils from an orange twist

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Stir for 10 seconds with 6 ice cubes and strain into a chilled cordial or coupe glass, spritz the orange oils over the top of the drink and discard peel, good for sipping , equally good as a quick shot before you know, you get shot.

SUMMER

With both Troy and Boldwood out of the picture , Bathsheba is left with her true love Gabriel who has stood by her side through the good and bad . One summer morning he announces to her that he must leave to set sail for America  to search for his fortune there and to avoid the gossip that he means to marry her himself , she tells him that its absurd that they should marry, when he repeats it she says only that it is too short a time since Troy has passed. Filled with hope Gabriel asks here again to be his wife only this time she accepts , they wed quietly and live happily ever after.

Midsummer Madness

Another traditional summer favorite in the UK is the Pimms Cup, I decided to make my own version inspired by a limited release that Pimms made that is flavored with sweet summer strawberries . For the long awaited wedding celebration I thought a touch of bubbles would be nice for the happy couple’s day.

For the Pimms

2 cups sweet vermouth
1 1/2 cups Cap Rock gin
1 teaspoon bitter orange peel ( you can buy this from your local brew shop)
1/2 cup manzanilla sherry for a nutty finish
Peel of one orange
1 pint seascape strawberries cut in half

In a screw top jar add all of your ingredients and allow to steep in the fridge for 2-3 days to get full extraction from the strawberries ,when ready strain and bottle. Store in the fridge until ready to use

For the drink 

3 oz strawberry Pimms
1 oz lemon
1 oz simple 1:1 ratio simple syrup
1 dash celery bitters
mint leaves and sprigs
cucumber  and strawberry slices ( mine were cut using a small cookie cutter)
sparkling rose to top off

beauty shot by Patrick O'Brien-Smith

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add all liquid ingredients except for rose to shaker and shake with 5 ice cubes for 5 seconds . Stain into an ice filled glass, arrange strawberry and cute slices and top with rose, finish off with a nice fragrant mint sprig, summer perfection in a glass!

Issue No.O30 “Tails from the Bookworm” Chinatown

 

 


 

here was something odd about the room, the lights were dim and the polished glass  tables were set with long sticks. Strange figures were painted on the light shades and on the menus , the kid sniffed the air heavy with garlic, onion and a whiff of aroma wending its way from the kitchen that she had never smelled before, this was new territory and it made her nervous. A small  in pajamas shuffled over and nodded politely at the gathered diners, pen and pad in hand. The kid stares at the menu, none of it makes sense! What does this mean?  How can something be sweet & sour and what are egg drops???  Oh, and why is this wearing jammas in a restaurant! This place is weird! The kid slithers down in her seat hoping to become miraculously  invisible. “What would you like miss?” Six pairs of eyes look in her direction, as she feels heat running up her neck. She scans the paper menu in her hand and shrugs, “C’mon love, we haven’t got all day , we’re hungry!” She slides down even further in her seat then flinches from the kick aimed at her under the table “Ummm, I’m not hungry” She blushes the shade of the silk lantern hanging above her head “Well you’ve got to eat something or there won’t be anything till breakfast” . Realizing the seriousness of the situation she was in, eat now or starve till morning, she chooses starvation  “not hungry” she mumbles then slips under the table hoping the fancy carpeted floor would just swallow her hole , she receives another kick under the table and hears a snicker “I don’t think she’s ever had Chinese food before” the words directed at the waitress ” any chance you can make her a ham omelette?” The waitress shakes her head and replies  solemnly “I’m sorry lady,we don’t make omelettes  ,  this is Chinatown!

The kid in question was myself, just in case you had not figured it out, I grew up in a Polish household raised primarily on sauerkraut , latkes kabanos  (dry sausage) and chicken  soup ( which we ate every single day) . My first outing to an actual sit down restaurant where a waiter takes your order and you don’t have to do the dishes when you finish eating , was at a Chinese restaurant, where instead of my omelette I was presented with a steaming bowl of egg fried rice with crisp english peas that would burst in my mouth when I bit them, it was sublime! I think it was my best friend’s birthday treat, her sister tormented me with  kicks under the table and rolling eyes, I was the Polak nit twit and they were better than me because they knew Chinese food. I wanted to punch her for making fun of me.

Times naturally have changed , I mean thirty some years have passed and thankfully I now  brandish  chopsticks with flair. Chinese food ranks up there as one of my favorite cuisines along with Thai and Japanese food, give me a bowl of eggy, crunchy rice or a cup of miso and I’m as happy as you’ll ever see this curmudgeon.  2015 in the Chinese horoscope is the year of the goat or sheep, I was born under that sign, stubborn , tenacious and the ability to chow down a mountain of food are all flags I fly with panache. I decided in honor of the Chinese New Year , February 19th, to explore one of my favorite movies ( yes I realize its not a book but it would have  made a rather splendid hard boiled crime novel a la Chandler or Hammett) . Set in Southern California amid the water wars and droughts (what’s new?) that took place in the early 20th century , the movie has everything ,there’s a smoking hot dame with a killer wardrobe, a dead guy, an evil father, a midget with a knife and lots of whiskey, what the film does not have is anything to quench the thirst on all those hot, parched days, there’s a mention of a Tom Collins  and iced tea but thats about it. So I figured I’d gather up a basket of foods the Chinese use to symbolize good luck and prosperity    ( lord knows some of the characters need a big change of fortune)  and whip up a few refreshing beverages to revive and keep these characters cool. Its also citrus season here in Socal so I made abundant use of our seasonal bounty too. Cheers and  Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Take 1 scene 1: Another stakeout

Enter our hero, J. J Jake Gittes, a hardened whiskey drinking Private Dick and ex LAPD. Jake is on the tail of  one Hollis Mulwray, chief engineer for the LADWP, according to his wife he’s been cheating and she wants hard proof so she can screw him for every penny! J. J has spent the day and part of the night in his hot automobile , driving from the Pacific ocean to the east side where he finally gets his proof, Hollis is shacked up with some hot little chica who can’t keep her arms from around his neck. What Jake needs to stop his mouth from feeling like sandpaper and his eyes from drowsily closing is this version of Duke Antone’s Harvey Wallbanger, featuring tangerines (which in Chinese culture symbolize good luck ; oranges represent gold and prosperity, a favorite addition to any Chinese New Year table) Galliano, jasmine  scented Gunpowder green tea and gin.

The Duke’s Punch

serves 12

1  bottle Aviation gin

1 liter of Jasmine gunpowder green tea, chilled

6 oz of  fresh squeezed lemon juice

12 oz of Galliano liqueur

12 dashes of orange bitters ( angostura orange works well here)

3 oz of simple syrup

1/2 oz vanilla extract

1 liter of tangerine or orange soda ( my favorite for this is Fanta)

3-4 tangerines segmented and cleaned of any stringy membranes

2 blood oranges sliced thinly on a mandolin

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

In a large pitcher or punch bowl add all of your ingredients except for the orange soda, add either one great big chunk of ice or 5-6  2 inch cubes to dilute and chill, store in fridge until ready to serve. Once ready, portion out ice in your glasses and pour over the chilled punch, top with an oz or two of orange soda and decorate with tangerines and oranges.

Take 1, scene 2: Chez Mulwray 

Jake gets back to his office thinking his job is done, all he can think of is a shot of scotch and that little blonde he met at the diner two nights ago. As he walks though the door he’s flagged by his two assistants, Mrs. Mulwray is back except this time its the real one. Jake realizing he’s been set up goes back to the water plant to confront Hollis and find out what the deal is, too late though Hollis is being fished out of the drink dead as a dodo! The only way to get to the real story is track down his lady wife.  J.J arrives at Chez Mulwray just in time to see the gardener looking at something shiny  in the Coi pond, curious Jake thinks but just then is distracted by Hollis’s wife, her silk blouse and riding breeches clinging to her, Jake gives her elevator eyes as his words and throat dry up. Evelyn Mulwray, a stunning beauty offers our man iced tea, Iced tea! Methinks not, I propose this  refreshing combination of Mezcal , lettuce juice ( lettuce represents rising fortune), aloe vera, and meyer lemon juice finished off with some tart wood sorrel.

Green Manalishi

1 1/2 oz mezcal

1 1/2 oz lettuce juice

1 oz floc de gascogne

1/2 oz aloe vera juice

3/4 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

maldon smoked salt to finish

garnish with wood sorrel flowers and leaves.

 

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

In your trusty shaker add all ingredients except for salt and garnish. Add 4-5 ice cubes and shake hard for 8-10 seconds. Strain into a chilled double old fashioned or rocks glass, add a pinch of smoked malden salt and few wood sorrel leaves to finish  .

(note: wood sorrel grows in abundance in Southern cali, you’ll find it on your hike in the canyons or growing in your back yard, wood sorrel like sorrel is a sour grass and adds an incredible freshness to any drink or dish, I snagged some and planted it in my yard)

Take 1 scene 3: Murder, a midget and Lunch at the Country Club

After Jake meets with the grief stricken Mrs. Mulwray he suspects foul play, the smoking dame Evelyn has him hooked and he’ll do anything to bring her some peace , turns out Hollis was in trouble over some  missing water deal, JJ starts to investigate and heads back to the water and power headquarters where he’s met with double  trouble in the form of a security guard and his midget henchman monkey, Jake trying to escape gets his nose slashed by the ape. Cut to the next morning and Gittes receives news at his office , Hollis and Evelyn’s father were once business partners so he figures who better to visit to collect dirt on the stiff. Pops comes in the intimidating and powerful form of Noah Cross, he meets Jake at his Country Club and thinks he can sway Jake away from his water investigation by offering him double to search for Hollis’s missing girlfriend.  The old man plies him with wine hoping to soften him up. No dice old timer! Jake don’t work that way! Cross may have faired better had he tried getting our man JJ one of these delicious smashes, pineapple mixed with coconut scotch  ( the golden pineapple symbolizes prosperity , luck and fortune whilst dried coconut at New year represents  friendship and unity) finish all this love off with a touch of Saigon  cinnamon .

Bol D’Or

1 1/2 oz of toasted coconut scotch ( see below for details)

3/4 oz cardamaro amaro

4-5 chunks of grilled pineapple

2 halved limequats

1/2 oz Vietnamese cinnamon simple syrup ( simple syrup that has cinnamon powder infused in it whilst still warm)

3/4 oz of lime juice

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss the halved limequats and pineapple chunks into your shaker tin, add the simple syrup and muddle pressing the oils out of the citrus, add the remaining ingredients and cracked ice and shake for about 5 seconds. Dump into a vessel of your choice and garnish with citrus leaves and a speared limequat.

(Note: Toasted coconut scotch, you will need 2 cups worth of shredded coconut that has been toasted in a medium oven for about 5-10 minutes till its partially nice and golden, toast too much and you will remove all of the yummy fatty oils that will fragrance your scotch. Add this to a container with a bottle of inexpensive blended scotch, such as Famous Grouse, stir and allow to sit overnight covered. If you are using the sous vide method to infuse , add your ingredients to a bag, seal it up and sous vide at 55 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, strain immediately and store in an airtight container).

Take 1 scene 4 :Alone at last

….and action!  J. J now has some serious questions for Hollis’s ex , he meets up with the dame for dinner where he gives her news of Papa Cross trying to throw him off track , he needs Evelyn’s help to get more answers , but first she needs a drink, stiff and  thirst quenching, something to loosen her lips and spill some beans, she orders a Tom Collins..and Cut! so how to make a Tom Collins more , well interesting, its fine and all but its essentially a boozy lemonade which if thats what you want then great, but how about trying it with preserved or fermented citrus. My version here uses preserved kumquats ( the literal meaning of the word is golden and as we heard earlier the color gold is very auspicious for new year celebrations in China, Kumquat plants are given as gifts) , coriander tincture, Old Tom gin , a touch of chili and club soda.

Tom Tom Club

2 oz Old Tom gin such as Haymans or Ransom ( if gin is not your bag substitute a good vodka)

3/4  oz lemon juice

1 oz simple syrup

1/8 oz of coriander tincture ( soak one cup of coriander seeds in a bottle of Everclear spirit, strain after 2-3 days of soaking)

1 dash Scrappy’s firewater bitters

2-3 preserved kumquats ( see below for recipe)

sliced kumquats and a pinch of Szechuan pepper for  garnish

club soda to top off

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Muddle the kumquats with the simple syrup in your shaker, add remaining ingredients and 4-5 ice cubes, shake hard for 8 seconds and dump into highball glass, top off with soda. garnish with kumquat or citrus slices and a pinch of ground Szechuan pepper.

(Note: Preserved Kumquats, you will need a large jar, a couple of pounds of kumquats halved , kosher salt and in this case a cup of coriander seeds. Line the bottom of your jar with salt, layer kumquats and salt with coriander seeds until they’re all used up, finish with a heavy layer of salt and seal the jar. Leave for a couple of weeks, when ready to use rinse off the kumquats to eliminate some of the salt)

Take 1 scene 5: Bedtime stories

After dinner , Jake and Evelyn decide to do some in depth investigations , they head to the Mar Vista Inn retirement home to get a personal look at these land owners who are stealing all the water, whilst there they are confronted once more by the switchblade toting midget and his big dog handler, the exchange must have been exhilarating since our hero and his beauty end up in each other arms and finish the scene in bed , smoking, literally!  Early in the morning Evelyn hears some news and has to leave tout suite, but not before telling JJ that her papa, Noah Cross is dangerous and he should stay away. He follows her to a house where she seems to be holding Hollis’s piece on the side hostage . He confronts her and she confesses the girl is her sister. I would think after this all nighter Jake would be ready for a choice beverage , since the time of day is dawn might I suggest this version of a tequila sunrise….

Rise and Shine

1 1/2 oz tequila

3/4 oz strega

1 oz pomelo juice ( pomelos again signify prosperity)

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 oz lime juice

pinch of smoked salt

3/4 oz aperol to line the bottom of your rocks glass

blood orange slice and pink peppercorns  to garnish

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Shake everything but the Aperol in your shaker with 4-5 ice cubes, shake hard for 8 seconds. Meantime layer the Aperol on the bottom of your chill glass and place on top one large rocks cube. Strain the shaken drink slowly onto the rocks cube so as not to disturb the Aperol, you want this drink to look layered. Finish with a pinch of peppercorns and the blood orange slice.

Take 1 , scene 6: Forget it Jake, its Chinatown!

The next day JJ get an anonymous tip off that leads him to the original but fake Evelyn’s place where he finds not Evelyn murdered and the cops waiting there for him in hiding, the cops suspect the real Evelyn of this murder and Hollis’s, he pressures Jake to produce Mrs. Mulwray or he’s going down himself. Jake returning to Evelyn’s mansion discovers whats shiny in the Coi pond, a pair of glasses he assumes belonged to Hollis, he confronts Evelyn about her sister to discover she is both her sister and daughter and guess who’s the daddy? That’s right evil papa Cross. Jake decides to help the ladies escape their predicament and spirit them away to Mexico, he suggest they hide out in her butler’s pad in Chinatown. Before she leaves she lets Jake know the eye glasses belong to her father implicating him as Hollis’s  and not Evelyn’s killer, you follow? JJ summons papa Cross to the mansion once the ladies have left to settle his deal for the girl. Sadly things go awry , the movie ends with Evelyn shot in the eye and papa Cross  whisking the sister/daughter away. Jake tries to help but his buddies stop him with the words “forget it Jake , its Chinatown”.

This sad ending makes me think that only one drink could soothe a man’s soul . The Sazerac has a special place in my heart, its the perfect ending to a day, a meal, a story. This one gets a little extra aroma from the Chinese Five spice syrup thats paired with this lovely Taiwanese ( yes thats correct) whisky ,this particular one aged in ex bourbon barrels. Its quite stunning in a cocktail as well as by itself.

The Chinatown

2 1/2 oz Kavalan ex bourbon barrel aged whisky

1/2 oz cynar

1/2 oz Chinese 5 spice simple syrup ( use same method as for cinnamon simple syrup above)

1/2 oz absinthe ( such as Kubler or Pontarlier)

1 pomelo twist

beauty shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Pour your absinthe into a chilled glass, swill around  coating the inside of the glass and pour off a little if theres is too much in the glass. Set aside. In your mixing glass add the whiskey, sugar and Cynar plus a handful of ice cubes. Stir for about 20 seconds then strain into your absinthe rinsed glass. Finish off with the pomelo twist.

 

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.013 Get ourselves back to the garden


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

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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

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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

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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 Hora 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

 


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 (?)

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