Issue No. 039 “Tails from the Bookworm” Ode to the Elements

mother earth


2017will go down in history books as a time of great change and not necessarily all for the better. This will be a year of reflection , of resistance , of uprising and showing up to knife fights with enormous guns . Because if none of this happens we will soon be one of the last generations to live freely on this beautiful planet that we call Mother Earth , as humans we have raped , abused and taken for granted the bounteous gift of the land we stand on and the precious commodities that this great Lady has given us with only one condition that we cherish what we have . Earth is made up of several states of physical matter which the ancient Greeks defined as the elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire , there is a fifth element which is a little more metaphysical , Aristotle called it Aether in Hinduism and Buddism its name is Akasha and describes that which was beyond the physical world . The fine balance of these elements is a requisite for our planet’s survival without them we animals will also rapidly perish , the earth could care less if we exist on it or not and doesn’t need us , we on the other hand rely on its existence , you get the picture .

Great writers of years gone by often paid homage to a particular  subject with a lyric address called an Ode, typically meant to be sung or recited with a certain song-like meter . This issue is my  Ode to those  Elements , my usual drink wrangling  accompanied by  five  revered wordsmiths and their literary interpretations . Sing it loud, I’m an Earthling and I’m Proud !

 

Emily Bronte – Ode to Earth

Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee
Shall Nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving—
Come back and dwell with me.

I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still—
I know my sunshine pleases
Despite thy wayward will.

When day with evening blending
Sinks from the summer sky,
I’ve seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.

I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway,
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet none would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee;
Thy comrade let me be—
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return and dwell with me.

Emily Bronte  was an English Poet and Novelist best know for penning Wuthering Heights, a polarizing  tale controversial at the time of its publishing for depicting mental and physical  cruelty as well as challenging the Victorian ideals of morality , religion and inequality , or so says the Wiki folks . Bronte only published a slim volume of her poetry before she died too early at the age of thirty , her young life was subject to abuse whilst at school as detailed in her sister Charlotte’s story of Jane Eyre .

The poem Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee speaks of a gloomy spirit that is no longer interested in the beauty of the natural world , the narrator in the piece is possibly  nature or Mother Earth herself , the words  reflect on Bronte’s deep love of the natural world and its ability to sooth a troubled spirit .

earth

The liquid Ode here comes from bounty plucked from the Earth itself, golden beets, red beets, carrots, ginger root and that most precious of chemical elements , Gold. The earliest sign of beet cultivation goes back about 4, 000 years it is high in nutrients and has a plethora of health benefits , calming blood pressure and Anemia  to name a couple , ginger adds a lovely digestif kick rounded out by Gold for its therapeutic qualities, rumored by ancient Egyptians and Chinese to prolong life if ingested, Chinese peasants to this day still cook rice with a Gold coin in the pot.

Should you not wish to keep this mix totally Holistic my spirited  suggestion would be to add either Mezcal for its earthy flavor or dry Gin for its complementary aromatics .

 

earth 2

2 oz golden beet and ginger  juice ( ran through a veggie juicer- a small amount of ginger goes a long way )
2 oz of chilled ginger tea ( a strong infusion of 2 tea bags per cup of hot water works best- for the boozy version steep the tea in Mezcal or Gin )
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz honey syrup
2 drops gentian root  tincture ( from most health food stores)
1 oz red beet juice for the float
Aftelier Shiso aroma for spritzing over ( an optional luxury )

Add all ingredients except the red beet juice to a shaker tin and she for 3 seconds with 5 ice cubes.
Strain into a chilled glass filled with one large rock cube
Using a speed pour fitted onto a bottle filled with the red beet juice slowly pour the red beet juice onto the top of the ice cube, the speed pour will allow the juice to come out slower than being poured from a pitcher and pouring onto the ice cube will stop the juice from mixing into the rest of the drink .
Add your optional spritz of Shiso aroma at this point
Garnish with carrot flowers ( slices of carrot cut out using a flower shaped cutter) and a sprinkle of
food grade gold dust .

*******

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Ode to Water

Water

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson , an American Scholar , led the transcendentalist movement of the 19th century and was seen as a champion of the individualist. He moved away from the religious beliefs of his contemporaries  and formulated a philosophy that explored the connection between the human soul and the world surrounding it , extolling  freedom and the idea that humankind has the ability to achieve almost anything .

Here Emerson  celebrates the gift of water and its ability to both give and destroy, to cool and to heal us but too much of it for example  storms, melting ice caps and Tsunamis can wreak havoc on civilization .

My watery offering uses coconut water, clarified pineapple juice , Seedlip  Wood spice  ( a pot distilled non-boozy spiced tonic and that water loving single celled organism Algae or Spirulina , packed with Iron and minerals a superfood of epic proportions .

water 2

1 1/2 oz fresh coconut water
1/2 capsule of Blue Majik Spirulina
1 1/2 oz clarified pineapple ( recipe below )
1 1/2 oz Seedlip Wood spice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup ( more if you prefer sweeter)
1 oz aguafaba or chick pea water ( literally means bean water,  the water that chickpeas are cooked in )
Silver disco dust ( optional as garnish )

Add all ingredients to your shaker tin with one small ice cube and shake for 5 seconds until you can no longer hear the ice cube banging around in tin. This will wake up the aguafaba and make the drink light and fluffy .
Add 5 more ice cubes and shake for a further 3 seconds
Strain immediately into a glass of your choice ( Inspired by a fellow LA Bartender Ryan Wainwright ,I used a shrimp cocktail glass that comes in two parts , in the bottom I added  dry ice and water to create the smoky effect ) the bowl section of the glass is where I strained my drink into.
Sprinkle the remaining half of Blue Majik Spirulina into a line on top of the drink . Using a straw or skewer draw a concentric circle into the surface of the drink to create your swirl pattern .
Finish with a pinch of silver disco dust .

Clarified Pineapple

4 cups of freshly juiced pineapple juice ( juiced through  veggie juicer )

Add juice to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and allow to come up to a simmer, do not stir, the aim is to get the pulp separated from the liquid , if you stir it will be mixed back in
Remove from heat and strain through a chinoise strainer , allow it to drip through without being agitated
Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

*******


Emily Dickinson – Ode to Air

Banish Air from Air

Banish Air from Air –
Divide Light if you dare –
They’ll meet
While Cubes in a Drop
Or Pellets of Shape
Fit –
Films cannot annul
Odors return whole
Force Flame
And with a Blonde push
Over your impotence
Flits Steam.

 

Emily Dickinson an American Poet is perhaps one of the most original writers of all time, she challenge the definition of what it meant to be a writer , like writers such as Thoreau and Whitman  she experimented with expression and crafted new types of persona for the first person. She saw poetry as a double edged sword both liberating as well as un-grounding .

Miss Dickinson uses symbolism and similes in Banish Air from Air, its possible she’s referring to someone’s death , who no longer breathes or adds air to the air , impotence denotes helplessness and inability to act . She lived in a time when Tuberculosis had taken several of a her friends and the window which she sat by whilst writing overlooked the cemetery where they had been interred, air the life giver sucked from their lungs by this vicious disease .

My personal Ode to air is a much lighter affair , using Japanese citrus and Cilantro that was then carbonated Via Perlini magic a CO2 chargeable cocktail shaker , the drink is finished with Li-Hing flavored light as air cotton candy from the folks at Sugar + Spun . For a boozy addition I would add briny Manzanilla sherry or an Aged Cachaca like Avua.

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3/4 oz Yuzu Juice
3/4 oz cilantro simple syrup ( recipe below )
2 oz clarified pineapple juice as in previous recipe or 2 oz Manzanilla sherry
2 drops vanilla extract

Add everything to your Perlini shaker with 5 ice cubes , screw on top and carbonate .
Allow to sit for a few seconds before pouring into a vessel of your choice and garnishing with cotton candy and flowering Cilantro sprigs if available .

Cilantro Simple syrup

4 cups cool simple syrup 1:1 ratio of cane sugar to hot water
bunch of cilantro leaves ( pick off the woodier stems )

Add everything your trusty blender and blend on high for 20 seconds
Strain through a chinoise strainer
Store refrigerated in an airtight container .

*******

Jane Hirshfield – Ode to Fire

Sonoma Fire

Large moon the deep orange of embers.
Also the scent.
The griefs of others—beautiful, at a distance.

Jane Hirshfield a modern day award winning Poet , her work influenced by both Western and Eastern traditions and from well known writers such as Dickinson and Whitman to lesser known Eskimo and Native poetry . Her work is constructed using spare lines , short forms and careful imagery she explores themes such as perception and awareness . A reviewer says of her work : “It’s about how to negotiate the difficulties of living while, at the same time, paying homage to what life has to offer. The poems are penetrating; they reveal a quick intelligence and an even quicker intuition.”

Sonoma Fire has characteristics of a Japanese Haiku traditionally constructed so that two opposing ideas are placed together , the beauty and the horrific destruction of a fire ,  however it does not have the traditional 5, 7, 5 layout of 17 syllables in total , the imagery is vivid , colorful and yet all consuming and visceral just like the flames themselves .

The drink you should be sipping on whilst contemplating fire is a combination of smoky Lapsang tea, vibrant orange , chocolate Frankincense and optional peaty Islay Whisky , activated charcoal that by product of fire is added to the drink for a Gothic twist of color.

fire 2

fire

2 oz chilled Lapsang Souchong tea
1 oz Paige Mandarin cordial  ( recipe below )  or  3/4 cordial and 3/4 oz Islay Whisky
1 oz paige Mandarin juice
3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chilli bitters
1 activated charcoal capsule
pinch black pepper
Aftelier Frankincense aroma or a Frankincense smoked  glass ( optional )

Add everything to your shaker tin, including charcoal.
Allow charcoal to absorb into the liquid, it can interact with medication if you are taking any pretty much cancelling it out ,  so its better to let it do its job of absorbing before enjoying this drink .
After 10 mins or so add 5 ice cubes and shake hard for 3 seconds .
Strain into your smoked glass and top with a spritz of Frankincense aroma
Serve with a stick of smoldering Palo Santo .

Paige Mandarin Cordial

1 lb of Paige Mandarins
4 cups of weak  simple syrup 2:1 ratio water to cane sugar
2 cups vodka ( optional )
1/2 vanilla bean

Strip peel off mandarins and juice , set juice aside
Add peels and 1/2 of the  juiced mandarin shells to a large canning jar or if using sous vide add to a ziplock bag
Add vanilla bean and liquid
Seal jar and shake , store in fridge for 2-3 days or seal bag and add to water bath with immersion circulator set at 50 degrees C for 2 hours
When ready strain off peels etc and allow to cool before using
Store refrigerated in airtight container until ready to use.

*******

 

T. A Rosenbaum – Ode to Aether

Aeonian Aether

Where the soul meets the sky
All is aether, never why
And in its favor is a place
Where is no sorrow, only grace
In its arms from deep to high
Is where the soul meets the sky

Past the moon, into the night
Which holds the earth in its flight
Darkness folds upon itself
Drinks existence to its health
And there sits beauty’s highest high
Past the moon, into the night

In the abode of Aeons old
Where flaming hearts count untold
No song of earthly tone may sing
Yet echoes of creation ring
There no lies have ere been told
In the abode of Aeons old

Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Where Gods may breathe and stars may die
They sigh, beautiful, poetic weeping
Their tears into the cosmos streaming
Into a Genesis or a Revelation nigh
Where ages sleep and eternities lie
Is where my soul meets the sky

There is not a whole lot of information on modernist Poet T.A Rosenbaum online , as a Metaphysical artist she or he felt it inappropriate to include a Bio on the page where I discovered this poem .  Needless to say if we are not careful this wisp of smoke or aether   is all that will be left of our glorious Planet if we are not more concerned or careful with its health and wellbeing . And in a true existential frame of mind think on this , if there is no Human , Animal or Earth left to remember will any of it have ever existed ?!

aether

 

Issue No.025 ” My Heart belongs to Daddy”

 

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

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

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

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

Islay be seeing you

1 1/2 oz Laproaig 10

1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum

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

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

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz Yuzu juice

 

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

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

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

 

Peat-er & the Wolf 

2 oz Laphroaig 10

1/2 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz ginger syrup

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

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

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

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

 

 Lincoln’s Peach

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10

1 oz creme de peche

1 oz calvados

3/4 oz maple syrup

1 oz lemon juice

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

1 ripe peach

2 drops vanilla extract

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

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

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

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

 

The Old Man’s Fashioned

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

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

1/2 oz  brandy

3 dashes angostura bitters

two orange twists

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

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

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

 

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

Issue No.021 “When Irish eyes are smilin”

 

 

ure tis like a morn in Spring…..

 

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

Irish boys can go one of two ways, they are either dark and broody like a pint of Guinness or cheeky , lighthearted and play well with others like a wee dram of Jameson, whichever way they go I love them both and

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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;

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these were nicknamed “iron lungs”. Draught Guinness and its canned counterpart contain nitrogen(N2) as well as carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure of dissolved gas is required to enable very small bubbles to be formed by forcing the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic “surge” (the widget in cans and bottles achieves the same effect). The perceived smoothness of draught Guinness is due to its low level of carbon dioxide and the creaminess of the head caused by the very fine bubbles that arise from the use of nitrogen and the dispensing method described above.

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

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

Slainte!

DIY Irish Cream (better than Baileys)

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey such as Jameson

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

1/2 oz simple syurp

1 oz homemade coffee liqueur (recipe below)

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

Coffee Liqueur:

(recipe adapted from Serious Eats)

1/4 cup fine ground espresso

2 1/4 cup water (divided)

1 cup turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups light rum

optional rinds of 2 blood oranges

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

 

Little Oge Flynn

for the drink:

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

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

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

4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1 dash of vanilla extract

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

for the milk foam:

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

8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)

1/4 oz vanilla extract

3 oz of egg whites

1 oz 1:1 simple syrup

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

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

 

Tay & Sympathay

A spin on a White Russian

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

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

1/2 oz simple syrup

2 drops vanilla extract

1 oz Strauss heavy cream

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

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

 

Barefoot in the grass

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey

1 oz sorrel juice

3/4 oz St.Germain

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

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

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

1 oz egg white

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

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

 

Innisfree Cup

2 oz Irish whiskey

2 oz strong brewed mint tea ( cooled)

1-2 sugar cubes depending on your sweet tooth

3 generous dashes angostura bitters

1 oz cynar

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

photo by Paddy O’Brien-Smith

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

 

The Brooklyn Maker

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

1 1/2 oz Redbreast Irish whiskey

1/2 oz CiaoCiaro or Averna Amaro

1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

3/4 oz dry vermouth such as Dolin Dry

2 dashes Miracle Mile orange bitters

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Next up…something to wine about

Issue No.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. 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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