Thursday, July 22, 2010

Aspirin Tape

A couple weeks ago the theme for TDN was Coconut.  I sat out the week after, but its theme was crushed ice, which my coconut creation also would have satisfied:
Aspirin Tape
  • 1 oz Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum
  • 1 oz Rhum Clément VSOP
  • ½ oz Lemon Hart 151° Demerara Rum (aka LH151)
  • ½ oz Navan Vanilla Liquor
  • ¼ oz Bénédictine
  • 1 oz coconut water
  • ¾ oz lime
  • ½ oz pineapple gomme
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters
  • 1 dash angostura
  • float of Trader Tiki Hibiscus grenadine
shake and strain over crushed ice into coconut cup, float grenadine, mint garnish, float lime shell filled with LH151 and set aflame, don't burn the umbrella, sip through straw (stolen from McD's on the walk home from work)
The name refers to the phrase "Tape an Aspirin to it" my dad oft repeated when confronted with all sorts of complaints from us kids.  And I'm not talking just about a headache or a sore knee, that was his default advice for a bloody gash, a broken toy, a flat tire, you name it.  It also is a glance toward the Painkiller tiki cocktail (and its namesake bar).  It also occurs to me it could be a tangential reference to the advice the doctor might give after you put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up, so take your pick.

I initially decided to try out mixing with the coconut water, nd then figured I might as well use the whole coconut.    Do you have any idea how hard coconuts are?  They are really damn hard; it took quite an effort to saw off the top with my crappy little hacksaw, but the effort paid its due dividend. 

I also decided to use, since pineapple and coconut pair well, the new pineapple gomme I recently got from Small Hand Foods (via The Boston Shaker), which I had previously only tried in this version of Pisco Punch.  The pisco didn't provide enough punch, so I swapped in the Clément.  Still needed more, thus the LH151 addition.  A couple more tweaks and I ended up with this 11 ingredient monster.  But after sawing off the top of the coconut in the NY heat wave, it proved quite refreshing.  I also like the use of the gomme here, which really does make a difference in texture, which might otherwise be a bit thin with the coconut water and the crushed ice.  I'd still give it a try with a pineapple simple syrup if you don't have the gomme though.

The straw is key.  The crushed ice is highly recommended, with the two overproof rums and the extra kick of the strong liquers, this is not a weak drink, but it doesn't taste too strong.  It just tastes good.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chaff Remover

Last week's TDN theme was Wheat Whiskey, so I came up with a couple drinks to contribute, my first submission being the Last Straw.  This was my second drink, also a variation of a classic.  This time I opted to riff on the Corpse Reviver #2, partially because I had a fun variation of the name, but in no small part due to my wanting to make use of my newly acquired Bonal, a slightly bitter but delicious aromatized apéritif wine.  It's delicious on it's own on the rocks with a twist, but I thought it might be fun mixed as well.
Chaff Remover
  • ¾ oz Bernheim Wheat Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
  • ¾ oz Gran Gala (or Cointreau)
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • small dash absinthe
Shake and strain; lemon twist to garnish (fashioned into wheat stalk of course)
This drink what right up my alley and I intend to add him into the starting lineup.  Like the Corpse Reviver, it's a bit tart and a bit sweet from the lemon triple sec, but this version has and added richness and bitterness from the Whiskey and Quinquina, respectively.  Yum.

Again, this is a variation on the Corpse Reviver #2, which I covered when I made a previous variation (the Xibalba Savior), but for reference, here's the original recipe:
Corpse Reviver #2
  • ¾ oz gin
  • ¾ oz Lillet blanc
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • dash absinthe
Shake, strain, lemon twist garnish

Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

We were in Japan for the peak of cherry blossom season, so naturally we did some viewing, or Hanami.  Here are some of the more arty shots I got.
Ryoanji Temple:
This is from the Imperial Palace East Gardens:
Quoth the Raven:
There was a real crowd in Ueno park to view the blossoms:
I enjoyed this crane in the old town area of Kyoto:
These are the rare Omuro Sakura variety of cherry tree at Ninna-ji Temple, the grounds were filled with families out for a picnic:
Ok, I think these are plum blossoms but they are still nice:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Last Straw

Last week's TDN theme was Wheat Whiskey, so I came up with a couple drinks to contribute.  Now this night didn't call for a "wheated whiskey", such as Maker's Mark, which simply contains some wheat but uses at least 51% corn, yielding a "wheated Bourbon".  This called for a true wheat whiskey, and although there are only a handful available, the suggested Bernheim I could get from my trusty Astor Wines.  (Truth be told, you could probably easily get away with substituting Maker's or something in these drinks.)  I'd never had a wheat whiskey, but I have to say it's not bad.  Kinda like a slightly drier Maker's, and perhaps a bit more floral and crisp.
This first drink is a variation on the equal parts Last Word cocktail, switching out the base of Gin for the Bernheim, getting the cherry notes from the deeper Heering instead of the brighter Maraschino, lemon for lime, and getting the herbal notes from Strega instead of Chartreuse. This was another drink whose name came first and the recipe flowed from that.  Just to tie this drink to its progenitor a bit more strongly (and to play with a new ingredient I just got from Cocktail Kingdom), I did finish it after straining with a couple dashes of Elixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse, Green Chartreuse's ornery granddad.  People tried it with regular Green Chartreuse and seemed pleased if that's all you got; you'll still get the aromas.
Last Straw
  • ¾ oz Bernheim Wheat Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Strega
  • ¾ oz Cherry Heering
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • couple dashes of Elixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse (or substitue good ol' Green)
Shake first four ingredients and strain into cocktail glass, top with a couple dashes elixer
I think it came together pretty well.  The drier Bernheim works better than a richer whiskey might to keep the drink balanced and bright, and you still get tons of herbal and cherry notes from the two liqueurs, which I've seen play well in a drink before. 

This also gave me a chance to show off my new favorite cocktail glass, which I found a pair of in a little antique shop in Port Townsend, WA (on the to-be-blogged sailing trip).  It's got beautiful amber coloring, made circa 1930 (according to the proprietor's best guess), no seams, sexy curves, nice etching...
For reference, here's the drink this one was based on:
Last Word
  • ¾ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz Maraschino
  • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz lime
Shake and strain into cocktail glass

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Guess the Japanese Restaurant

Speaking of seasonality in Japanese meals, guess where I had this one, complete with soy-cured firefly squid, green seaweed and bamboo shoots, dried baby fish, and a jellyfish and surf clam salad:

Believe it or not, it was on the ANA flight on the way out to Tokyo.  I was getting this great stuff and wasn't even there yet!  This was actually pretty good, and damn excellent for an in flight meal.  I had to mention it because it was so impressive, but also because it was the first time I had either firefly squid or (more impressively) jellyfish.  In fact, the jellyfish was my favorite part of the meal.

Close up of the Jellyfish salad:

And the squid:

Mmmm, baby fish:

All on a plane!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Purse Strings

This is the second drink I threw together a couple weeks ago for TDN "Mint."  The picture is not as well done as I usually try to do, but I was winging this one so it is what is it.  I do enjoy the silhouette of Halley lounging in the background though, so that somewhat makes up for my sloppiness.  The drink itself is quite refreshing.
Purse Strings
  • 1½ oz Pisco
  • ½ oz Velvet Falernum
  • ¾ oz lemon juice (or lime*)
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura
  • Mint
  • ~6 blueberries
  • soda
muddle mint and berries with simple and bitters, add rest and shake, dump into glass, top with soda, mint sprig garnish
As for the name, don't you worry about that.  It arose from a long chain of non sequiturs that I seized upon when at a loss for a name.  It wouldn't even make sense to me if I tried to explain it.

*UPDATE: I accidentally made this with lime this weekend for guests over the 4th, and it went over well, so perhaps lime is better than lemon.  Maybe it's like the pisco sour where people debate which to use, but both work in that too.