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Cocktail Recipes

Cocktail Recipes

Tropical Storm Cocktail Recipe + 5 Rum Fest Discoveries

October 12, 2019
tropical storm, stolen rum, oleo saccharum

Of all the spirits, my favorite is rum. I love the way they’re made in so many styles, with flavors that reflect their origins.  Few other spirits have a subculture devoted to them. Rum inspired the tiki movement, which celebrates a mythical, tropical land that doesn’t exist except in the minds of expats. But mostly, I love the flavor of dark rums from the Caribbean. An old rum has all the deep, dark and delicious nutty, candied, brown sugar, spicy notes of an old whiskey, but for a fraction of the price.

So late this summer, I went to my first Rum Fest in San Francisco. It’s pretty festive with men and women in vintage tiki attire, tropical plants and leis. But it’s a serious exploration too, with seminars on rhum agricole, and creating sustainable distilleries.

But most people came for the chance to taste favorite rums from all over the world, and discover new ones. Here are my top 5 discoveries from Rum Fest 2019.

bacoo rum

  1. My favorite rum discovery was Bacoo, a new range of rums from the Dominican Republic. Valerie Sansevero, who created the brand with her husband, explained that the Bacoo is a genie like spirit who lives in a bottle, according to folk tales from the Caribbean and Africa. He can grant wishes or he can be spiteful, depending on how you come at him. The line of 5-, 8- and 12-year old rums all showed delicious caramelized brown sugar and fruit aromas you might expect. But Bacoo’s new rum aged in sherry casks, with its floral character and lingering finish, was the showstopper for me.
    Boukman rhum agricole
  2. The most unique spirit was Boukman Botanical Rhum from Haiti. This rhum agricole (made from fresh sugarcane juice instead of molasses) is spiced, but with bitter orange and allspice, so it’s floral, and green like a gin. Founder Adrian Keogh says it’s modeled after the street drink clairin trempé, rhum agricole mixed with bark, citrus and spices. The name on the apothecary-inspired bottle comes from Dutty Boukman, the enslaved man who started the Haitian revolution in 1791. With its social mission–10% of proceeds support education charity Haiti Futur and reviving sugarcane–it’s an attractive alternative rum that’s winning acclaim.Calbert Francis English Harbour
  3. The island of Antigua (it’s pronounced Ann-tee-guh) has only one distillery called English Harbour, established in 1932. Calbert Francis, the affable brand ambassador, says their rums are made in small batches and then aged in bourbon barrels. Not surprisingly, the 5-year-old rum was sweet, spicy and lean, like whiskey. That unlabeled bottle he’s holding is their newest release, the Coeur de Sauvage, their first rum bottled at 148-proof cask strength. I found it pretty aggressive sipped neat, but rum collectors are already angling to acquire one of just 400 bottles being produced.montanya rum
  4. I loved learning about Karen Hoskin, the chief distiller and founder of Montanya Rum in Colorado. So far she’s trained five other women as distillers, and they’re paying it forward while making fine spirits of their own. Colorado doesn’t seem like rum country. But Hoskin’s built a business that’s an expression of her commitment to environmental sustainability. Her entire operation is wind powered, plastic is forbidden and all paper is recycled or composed. And every vendor from the American sugarcane grower to the glass producer has environmental bona fides.
    Pusser's Rum
  5. Tasting Pusser’s Rum was like reminiscing with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. I discovered Pusser’s in college (I think it was on sale) and fell in love with its deep caramel, vanilla and warm spice notes.  Pusser’s Black Label Gunpowder Proof Rum has a similar flavor profile, but it’s more potent at 54% alcohol. Did you know that British sailors received a half pint, or tot, of Gunpowder rum every day as part of their diet?  The practice ended in July 31, 1971, after someone realized that large seagoing vessels and alcohol weren’t the best combo.

tropical storm rum cocktail gil batzri

Earlier that week, Pusser’s starred in a delicious cocktail called the Tropical Storm that guest bartender Gil Batzri served at a party in Alameda. It was one of those drinks that Dave Wondrich would call “more-ish,” with a beguiling  balance of tangy passionfruit tempered by a bitter edge from two rums. He was nice enough to share the recipe.

Tropical Storm
Makes 1 cocktail

1 ounce passion fruit juice
1 ounce lime juice
1.5 ounces Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum
1/2 ounce Stolen Overproof Rum
1/2 ounce oleo saccharum*
1/2 ounce orgeat** (like Small Hands’)

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well until well chilled. Then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

*Oleo Saccharum is a mixture of citrus peels and sugar that’s been used as a flavoring since ancient times. It means “oily sugar” in Latin. Food 52 says to make it by using a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips of skin from clean oranges and lemons. You need about a cup. Mash the peels into a cup of sugar until it becomes an oily syrup. Makes about 1/2 cup that can be bottled and refrigerated for a week. (This quickie recipe from Saveur mashes uses grapefruit peels and mashes everything together in a plastic bag.)

**Orgeat is an almond syrup with a hint of orange blossom water. It’s most often used in the Mai Tai cocktail.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because I like them,  not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. Whether or not you decide to buy something is your call.

 

 

 

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Five Fabulous New Year’s Eve Cocktails from Pinterest

December 28, 2013
kismet_cocktail_flutes

It seems I have thousands of pictures of champagne and sparkling wine cocktails on my poor overworked MacBook. But that’s part of why I love Pinterest, because it collects all sorts of inspiration, and so beautifully. Here are five fabulous cocktails from my Bubbly Cocktails board on Pinterest, along with links to the recipes. Be sure to follow me for more!

 

1. Sloe Motion

This cocktail from The Continental Midtown in Philadelphia was featured in Saveur. Though the recipe is just three ingredients, quite often simple things have the most impact. Love the licorice garnish!

Plymouth's Sloe Gin gives this cocktail its name. Photo credit: Christopher Gabello.

Plymouth Sloe Gin lends this cocktail its name. Photo credit: Christopher Gabello.

 

2. Campari and Orange Sparkling Cocktail

I find Campari’s bitterness tough to take on its own. But when I tasted a cocktail by Paul Mant at Quo Vadis, which mixed the  Italian aperitif with orange, lemon and champagne, it started a whole new chapter. This easy drink from Cooking Light will show you just what I mean.

Campari, orange juice and sparkling wine make for a complex cocktail. Photo credit: Oxmoor House.

The Italian aperitif Campari, orange juice and sparkling wine make a deliciously complex drink. Photo credit: Oxmoor House.

 

3. The Kismet Cocktail

The combination of pomegranate and brut sparkling wine is a winner — just look at all the pins for my cocktail called the Lava Lamp. The Kismet, which means “fate” takes a sophisticated twist on that flavor combination by adding ginger and passion fruit. Pomegranate, ginger and passion fruit are all supposed to be aphrodisiacs… and in my opinion, champagne is too.

Pomegranate, passion fruit and ginger make for a thrilling winter cocktail. Photo credit: Maria Hunt.

The pomegranate, passion fruit and ginger Kismet cocktail. Photo credit: Maria Hunt.

 

4. The Antoinette

This cocktail from Saveur‘s article called Bubblicious is a bubbly take on the Bramble with prosecco mixed with blackberries, lemon, vodka and Cointreau. It’s poured at Oak restaurant in Dallas.

The Antoinette from Oak in Dallas. Photo Credit: Helen Rosner

The Antoinette from Oak in Dallas. Photo credit: Helen Rosner.

 

5. Christmas Cranberry Mojito

This gorgeous pin lead me to a blog called Style Celebration – Style Celeb for short – which shares all sorts of info on fashion, shopping, cosmetic trends, runway reports. A Tastemaker post shared this seasonal cranberry mojito, with cranberry juice, light rum and mint. It would be even more sublime if you sub some brut bubbly or prosecco for the sparkling water.

The Christmas Cranberry Mojito from Style Celeb. Photo credit: Roya Mirgoli of Style Celeb.

The Christmas Cranberry Mojito from Style Celeb.
Photo credit: Roya Mirgoli of Style Celeb.

 

 

 

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks, Travel

Cocktails from Chicago: The 13 Degrees at The Gage

May 7, 2013
chicago_skyline
The 13 Degrees cocktail from the Gage is by barman Thomas Mooneyham.

The 13 Degrees cocktail — with prosecco, sage, velvet falernum and gin — was created by Chicago barman Thomas Mooneyham at The Gage.

I just came back from visiting my family in Chicagoland. I mostly hung out in the ‘burbs, but I did foray into the city one afternoon. I saw the Picasso exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago . It was great seeing the genesis of his famous Chicago woman/bird sculpture as well as a series of pen-and-ink drawings.

Looking at art made me thirsty and hungry, so I went across Michigan Avenue to The Gage, a lively new American restaurant and tavern.  It was a warm day at the 13 Degrees was perfectly smooth and refreshing, with lots of wonderful herbal flavors from the Velvet Falernum and the Death’s Door Gin, which is made in the Midwest.

Creator Thomas Mooneyham, who was kind enough to share his recipe, makes the drink unique with his pear-sage syrup. But flavored syrups like this one are actually quite easy to make at home following the instructions below.

13 Degrees

3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
3/4 ounce Death’s Door Gin
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce pear-sage syrup (see note)
Prosecco float
sage leaf

Add the Velvet Falernum, gin, lime juice and pear-sage syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Add prosecco float. For the garnish, slap or spank the sage leaf between your hands and place on top of the drink.
Makes 1 cocktail

Note: To make your own pear-sage syrup, boil 2 cups pear nectar or juice with 1 cup sugar and 2 sage leaves in a 2-quart pot. Once it boils, turn it down to simmer for 10 minutes then turn off and let the syrup steep. Once it’s cool, strain it, then bottle it and refrigerate for up to a week.

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Warm up the Winter with Four Roses Bourbon – Plus a Fat Washing Primer

December 5, 2011
bourbon_cocktail_maple
 Of all the brown spirits, bourbon is the one I’m warming up to the fastest. I guess it must be the warm flavors of caramel and vanilla and the hint of sweetness from the corn mash that makes it easy to appreciate. I’ve sipped it on the rocks, but love the way it works in cocktails. I’m not the only one apparently: this spring, an organization called Bourbon Women had their coming out party in Kentucky. Founded by Peggy Noe Stevens — the first female master bourbon taster — the group celebrates the heritage of bourbon and educates women about it through tasting events around the country.

I got a personal lesson in the versatility of bourbon this fall when I judged a Four Roses Bourbon cocktail contest at Bourbon & Branch.The Four Roses legend starts with Paul Jones, Jr. who was in love with a local belle. He asked her to marry him and coyly suggested that if her answer was yes, she should wear a corsage of four red roses to the next dance. She did, and the rest is history. These days, Four Roses is admired by connoisseurs for Jim Rutledge’s careful blending five yeast strains and two grain mixes to create 10 distinctive bourbon recipes. Each blend is aged in new white oak barrels, and only Rutledge’s favorite is selected as their Single Barrel bourbon.

For their annual cocktail contest, creative Bay Area mixologists made diverse cocktails with their own corn milk punch, rootbeer and combination of amari and other brown spirits. But in the end, we were most taken with the way the bourbon was enhanced by a combo of bacon, apple cider and a spicy 4505 Meats chicharron in a drink called Autumn Rose by Christina Cabrera.

Autumn Rose

2 ounces bacon-infused Four Roses Bourbon
1/4 ounce Gran Classico
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce apple cider
1/2 ounce honey
1/2 ounce maple syrup
2 dashes chocolate bitters

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a coupe style cocktail glass. Now take a bite of the chicharron before sipping the cocktail.

Now Christina’s recipe used maple-bacon-infused honey. Since I didn’t have any of that around, I decided it was time to make some bacon-infused bourbon. This is a simple version of the technique called “fat-washing” that mixologists and chefs use to add the flavor of a fatty food like bacon or foie gras to a spirit.

Bacon-Infused Bourbon

4 pieces thick-cut, old-fashioned bacon, ie  applewood smoked
1 bottle bourbon

Basically, all you do is pour the fat released by cooking the bacon into the bourbon, or whatever spirit you’re infusing. Let it sit for a day or two and then freeze it before pouring the bourbon back into the bottle through a cheesecloth or strainer. The bacon fat will have transferred flavor into the spirit.

For a more involved description of fat-washing, check out this post on Blender Booze blog; I also like this profile of fat-washing pioneer Eben Freeman in Food & Wine Magazine.  I learned the lard …er hard way that it’s important to let your bourbon sit in the refrigerator while it’s infusing with the bacon fat. I let it sit on the counter as one recipe suggested and the bacon fat took on a rancid odor, not the sort of thing one wants to drink. I also think the effect works best if you use a more smoky style of bacon.

© 2011 Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl.

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Make a Bloody Moscow Mule for Halloween

October 27, 2011

When my friend Laura sent me a bottle of the Crystal Head Vodka in the distinctive skull-shaped bottle, I knew it would be perfect for a Halloween cocktail shoot. Since it was released, I’ve seen some tequilas in painted Day of the Dead-style calavera bottles. But they look dowdy next to this perfectly clear gleaming skull.

The Moscow Mule is the only vodka cocktail I drink regularly. It’s like a gingery mojito and it’s super simple to make, since there’s absolutely no muddling involved.

The story goes that the Moscow Mule was created back in 1941 for a promotion by the Smirnoff Company to help market their new vodka. The recipe was released along with special copper-colored mugs.

Holding the cold, sweaty mug in your hand adds to the refreshing experience of the drink. But to see the bloody effect I created by swapping the simple syrup in the recipe for the pomegranate syrup known as grenadine,  you’ll want to make this cocktail in a clear glass.

By the way, that’s not a stain on the front of the cranium, that’s a signature from actor, bluesman and entrepreneur Dan Akroyd who owns the brand! (Off topic, but if you’ve never seen Akroyd in ’80s movies The Blues Brothers or Trading Places–which has a great Halloween story line– go check them out on Amazon. )

Bloody Moscow Mule

2 tablespoons natural grenadine, like Stirrings
1-1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces ginger beer
¼ ounce fresh lime juice
1 sprig fresh mint
1 slice lime

Pour the grenadine into the bottom of your cocktail glass. Fill the glass three-quarters with ice, add vodka and lime juice. Stir gently to combine. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.
Makes 1 cocktail