ure tis like a morn in Spring…..
Ive had a thing about Irish boys since as long as I can remember, my first crush was on a young butcher boy called David, I think I was nine and he was sixteen, something about those sparkling , twinkly smiling blue eyes would bewitch me and put me under the bumbling idiot spell, oh and the manly way he would handle a meat cleaver gave me goosebumps all over! Then there’s one of me favorite movies, “The Quiet Man” not because of John Wayne or the lovely Maureen O’Hara but for the character of Michaleen Flynn, impish, charming, dry humored and totally hilarious, if you have not seen the movie I recommend renting it the next time it pees down with rain, though in the City of Angels you might have to wait a year or two!
Irish boys can go one of two ways, they are either dark and broody like a pint of Guinness or cheeky , lighthearted and play well with others like a wee dram of Jameson, whichever way they go I love them both and any that come in between. March 17th in case you were not aware is the day the Irish commemorate Ireland’s number one son Saint Patrick by wearing Kelly green and having an all out feast, its the only time the Lenten observations are lifted by the Catholic church in Ireland to allow for celebrations to be carried out properly and by properly I mean till they drop or their liver gives in whichever comes first. The other thing I love about the Irish is anything they put their hands to is full of beautiful, soulful expression, made with thought and care.
For instance lets take a wee gander at the best selling Irish beverage, Guinness. Guinness stout is made from water, barley roast malt extract, hops and brewers yeast. A portion of the barley is roasted to give Guinness its dark color and characteristic taste. It is pasteurized and filtered,making the product requires knowledge in the sciences of microbiology , mycology , bacteriology and thermodynamics. Despite its reputation as a “meal in a glass”, Guinness only contains 198 calories per pint fewer than skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers. Until the late 1950s Guinness was still racked into wooden casks. In the late 1950s and early 1960s aluminum kegs began replacing the wooden casks; these were nicknamed “iron lungs”. Draught Guinness and its canned counterpart contain nitrogen(N2) as well as carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure of dissolved gas is required to enable very small bubbles to be formed by forcing the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic “surge” (the widget in cans and bottles achieves the same effect). The perceived smoothness of draught Guinness is due to its low level of carbon dioxide and the creaminess of the head caused by the very fine bubbles that arise from the use of nitrogen and the dispensing method described above.
A brilliant bit of liquid engineering, right? Then there’s Irish whiskey, one of the greatest styles of whiskey in the world and also one of the most ancient. Unfortunately, the 20th Century saw the decline and fall of the Irish whiskey industry. In recent years Irish whiskey has begun to make a comeback. Today, Irish whiskey is the fourth most popular style of whiskey in the world behind scotch, bourbon and Canadian whiskies. Distilling technology came to Ireland earlier than many parts of Europe, probably brought over to the island by missionary monks. The first distillates were called “uisce beatha” Gaelic for “water of life”, which was eventually anglicized into the word whiskey that we use today. Currently there are only three functioning distilleries in Ireland producing this Eau de Vie, it is typically distilled three times as opposed to twice which makes it far more smoother and less harsh on the finish.
I hope I am doing them a justice in featuring both these lovely brews in the following selection of celebratory concoctions.
DIY Irish Cream (better than Baileys)
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey such as Jameson
1 oz Strauss heavy cream
1/2 oz simple syurp
1 oz homemade coffee liqueur (recipe below)
(recipe adapted from Serious Eats)
1/4 cup fine ground espresso
2 1/4 cup water (divided)
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups light rum
optional rinds of 2 blood oranges
Little Oge Flynn
for the drink:
1 1/2 oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)
2 of good quality piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor
3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot
4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters
1 dash of vanilla extract
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this and the chocolate are beautiful together)
for the milk foam:
in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister
8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)
1/4 oz vanilla extract
3 oz of egg whites
1 oz 1:1 simple syrup
Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top with a generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.
Tay & Sympathay
A spin on a White Russian
2 oz Earl grey infused Irish whiskey ( 8 tea bags to one 750ml bottle of whiskey)
1 oz Amaretto ( not very Irish I admit but great with Earl grey)
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 drops vanilla extract
1 oz Strauss heavy cream
Add all ingredients except the cream to your mixing glass, stir with 4 ice cubes and strain into a chilled coupette or over 1 large ice cube. If serving up pour the cream slowly onto the back of a spoon into the drink so that it lays carefully on the top, if using an ice cube pour the cream onto the top of the rock and it will cover the surface and float at the top.
Barefoot in the grass
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
1 oz sorrel juice
3/4 oz St.Germain
1/4 oz fresh yuzu juice ( sub lemon if you cant find, I get at a Japanese market)
1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water)
3/4 Floc de Gascogne ( an aperitif wine, use Lillet blanc in a pinch)
1 oz egg white
Add everything to your Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for 10-15 seconds. Add 4 ice cubes and shake again for 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled ice filled Old Fashioned glass and spoon over the egg white meringue. Garnish with wood sorrel leaves if you can find them if no baby arugula looks just as pretty.
2 oz Irish whiskey
2 oz strong brewed mint tea ( cooled)
1-2 sugar cubes depending on your sweet tooth
3 generous dashes angostura bitters
1 oz cynar
about 6 mint leaves for muddling, 8-10 leaves for laying in bottom of glass and 3-4 generous bushy mint sprigs for garnish
Add your bitters and sugar into the bottom half of your Boston shaker, splash in a touch of mint tea to help dissolve the sugar, muddle the sugar and bitters. Add six mint leaves, no need to muddle, over muddling will result in bitter sludge tasting mint, shaking the drink with ice should beat up the mint just enough. Add the whiskey, cold tea and Cynar and about 4-5 ice cubes. Shake hard for about 30 seconds. In a 12 oz glass lay the remaining mint leaves in the bottom , pile on top a generous scoop of crushed ice, I beat mine up in a ziplock bag with a muddler. Strain the contents of your tin over the ice and add a touch more crushed ice on top. Dash over a little more Angostura bitters, garnish with a festive straw and your mint sprigs.
The Brooklyn Maker
(a spin on a Boiler maker, using a variation on the classic Brooklyn cocktail)
1 1/2 oz Redbreast Irish whiskey
1/2 oz CiaoCiaro or Averna Amaro
1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz dry vermouth such as Dolin Dry
2 dashes Miracle Mile orange bitters
4-5 oz of dark Irish porter beer such as Guinness
In your mixing glass add all ingredients except for the beer, stir over ice for about 25-30 seconds, strain into a bottle of mini carafe . In a second matching mini bottle pour your dark beer.
When presenting the drink make sure both the beer and the cocktail are chilled as well as the glass, this drink can be served over ice or without, you can also play with different beers to lighten it up slightly, since I’m a bitter lover I chose the combination of dark porter and Amaro.
In the spirit of the Holiday and my large living Gaelic friends I leave you with this saying by Brooklyn’s Irish daughter , Mae West…”You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough”
Next up…something to wine about