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Cocktail Recipes

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

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Have a Pleasant Evening at Rickhouse

September 30, 2011

I’ve been to Rickhouse several times for special events, but I recently got to hang out there  while showing around a bartender visiting from Chicago. And now it’s become my favorite bar in San Francisco.

Once the door closes behind you, I like the way it feels like you’re in a different place. With its rough wood paneling, dim light and chicken wire detailing, the bar is set up to look like a rick house, a warehouse out in the country where barrels of whiskey are stored. Even the bathrooms are kind of like visiting an outhouse, sans the aroma.

Rickhouse is well-known for its punch bowls, like the popular Pimm’s Berry Punch. But we were impressed with the creative cocktails on the menu, most of which were just $8.

We slid into the open seats at the end of the bar and immediately started chatting with a friendly couple who had come down from Fairfield one one side and a businessman visiting from Boston on the other. But the center of attention was our bartender Ricky Paiva, who sported an impressive mustache that twirled up on the ends.

In between mixing cocktails like the sparkling Pleasant Evening and the Blue & Red Smash, a Bulleit Bourbon cocktail with muddled berries and mint, Ricky told us the story behind his mustache.

Ricky is one of the most entertaining bartenders at Rickhouse.

Most people think it goes with his authentic old-time mixologist look. But it was a remnant from his stint in a friend’s Burt Reynolds style wedding, complete with leisure suits and Lonnie Anderson white wine.

Bartenders are cool about sharing recipes for their drinks. When I asked how to make a Pleasant Evening, Ricky printed a small receipt with the recipe and the type of glass to make it in. So here you go:

Pleasant Evening

1/2 ounce crème de cassis

3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

2 dashes peach bitters

3 ounces brut sparkling wine

grapefruit peel, for garnish

Shake the cassis, grapefruit juice and bitters in a shaker to chill, then strain into a champagne coupe. Top with the sparkling wine and garnish with grapefruit peel.

Makes 1 cocktail

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Pimm’s Cup 3 Ways: Sparkling, Updated & Classic Recipes

August 28, 2011

I’ve been ignoring all the back-to-school sales and mentally trying to turn this into an endless summer. Sadly, the weather is making it quite apparent that autumn is on its way.

But I’ve been savoring some flavors of summer this month. While I never made it to a tennis or polo match this summer, I did indulge in the classic English summer drink at The Bubble Lounge SF: The Pimm’s Cup.

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail has a rather convoluted history–even for the drinking world–where so many tales are fuzzy because the people telling them are slightly fuzzy-headed.

We do know it was created in 1823 by a man named James Pimm who ran the popular Oyster Bar in London, according to the official site, fetchingly named Anyone For Pimms. The custom was slurping oysters and slugging back London dry gin, which was a bracing 90-proof spirit that didn’t necessarily enhance the flavors of the bivalve.

Mr. Pimm created a cocktail called Pimm’s Cup No. 1 that diluted the gin with citrus fruits, aromatic spices and water, making it a much more food-friendly tipple. Plus, I imagine he was happy his patrons weren’t getting smashed quite so quickly. His Pimm’s Cup No. 1 became fashionable, and Pimm created a few more versions of his drink with brandy and Scotch and rum, that were later bottled for sale.

Only the gin-based Pimm’s No. 1 endures and it’s featured in eponymous cocktails that might also be mixed with lemonade, ginger ale, ginger beer and an ambrosial selection of fruits including strawberry, lemon, lime, apples and cucumber (yes, cucumber is a fruit.)

This season, Bubble Lounge San Francisco in Jackson Square is featuring the Pimm’s Cup No. 1 a couple different ways. Their signature is the Pimm’s Royale, that’s livened up by champagne. They were kind enough to share the recipe:

Pimm’s Royale

1-1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 ounce ginger ale
6 inch ribbon of cucumber, for garnish
2 to 3 ounces champagne
slice fresh strawberry, for garnish
sprig of fresh mint, for garnish

In a tall Collins style glass, add the Pimm’s, lime juice and ginger ale and stir. Slide the cucumber down the side of the glass, then fill the glass 3/4 with ice. Top with the champagne, then garnish with the strawberry slice and the mint.
Makes 1 cocktail

As I was enjoying the Pimm’s Royale, Eileen, a Bubble Lounge bartender, suggested I try her updated version of the classic Pimm’s Cup.

Eileen’s Pimm’s Cup

3/4 ounce simple syrup
3-inch slice cucumber
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
1 ounce gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce ginger beer

In a sturdy rocks glass, muddle the simple syrup, cucumber and 1 sprig mint until fragrant. Add the Pimm’s, gin and lemon juice and stir. Fill the glass with ice, stir again then top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the remaining mint.
Makes 1 cocktail

For the classic recipe , listen in to National Public Radio’s Michele Norris doing a fun interview on Pimm’s Cup history with the catering director at Wimbledon, where Pimm’s No. 1 is the unofficial beverage.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Cocktail

August 19, 2011

Fresh blackberries star in the Berry Bramble, an icy cocktail perfect for summer entertaining.Anyone with relatives from the South eventually learns the phrase : “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

My mom taught it to me as a tip for selecting the sweetest, ripe fruit, and it’s pretty much true with produce like cherries, plums and blackberries. Of course, when I got a little older, I learned it was a double entendre. And last week, I discovered chef Heather Jones’ blog on African Americans in the culinary world called  The Blacker the Berry Food.

I’ve enjoying lots of delicious blackberry cocktails lately. We sipped a delicious blackberry cocktail called the Blackberry Cobbler at the retro restaurant Flora. They wouldn’t divulge the recipe, but it stars a house-made blackberry syrup that’s shaken up with Martin Miller’s Gin, pineapple juice, orange liqueur, lemon and poured over a tall glass of crushed ice.

When these freshly picked Sonoma blackberries got soft, I juiced them and boiled the juice with 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan to make blackberry syrup.

 

And at Redd in Yountville, the entertaining bartender named Mason wowed us with his Samurai, a piquant and fruity martini that mixes blackberries with yuzu citrus.

Samurai
6 whole berries or 2 tablespoons blackberry puree
1/2 ounce yuzu juice
2 ounces Charbay green tea vodka
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 ounces ginger beer

Add 5 blackberries to a cocktail mixing glass and muddle to a pulp or start with 2 tablespoons blackberry puree. Add the yuzu juice, vodka and lime juice; then fill the shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled then double-strain into a martini glass. Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the remaining blackberry.
Makes 1 cocktail

But my favorite blackberry cocktail recipe in recent memory is the Berry Bramble, which Chase Osthimer and Erick Castro made by the hundreds during SF Chefs. This one was created in the 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsell who’s credited with modernizing bar culture in the UK. Osthimer says the Bramble was the UK version of the Cosmopolitan. Here’s a video of the man making his famous drink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1g7OmcJpJY

I laughed when I heard the name. I thought I was so clever when created a blackberry and champagne recipe for my book The Bubbly Bar and dubbed it the Bramble. I quickly added “Bubbling Blackberry” to the name when my research turned up Bradsell’s famous recipe.

The Berry Bramble

4 each fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries
1 tablespoon simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 ounces gin, such as Plymouth
1 tablespoon berry liqueur like creme de mure or Framboise

Add 9 (3 each) fresh berries to a sturdy rocks cocktail glass and muddle them to a pulp. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and gin. Pack the glass with crushed or shaved ice, mounding it up a bit. Drizzle the berry liqueur over the top. Garnish with the remaining three berries.

Makes 1 cocktail

 

 

 

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks, Pop Culture

Three French Cocktails for Bastille Day!

July 14, 2011

Even if you’re not French, Liberté, Egalité & Fraternité —  the rallying cry of the revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille Prison —  is a pretty good motto to live by.

There’s a je ne sais quois I love about French culture, idea of taking pleasure in sharing a meal made with fine seasonal ingredients with friends and embracing your own special style. I still get choked up when Les MisÃérables comes on KQED. To celebrate Bastille Day, I thought I’d share three of my favorite French-inspired cocktails.

1. The French 75

The French 75 – image from The Bubbly Bar

This spirited combination of champagne, lemon and either gin or cognac depending on the season, is a quintessential aperitif. As the story goes, it was created by WWI American officers serving in France who marvelled at the 75mm artillery guns that were still quite powerful and smooth The piquant quality primes your appetite. Since it’s warm outside, I’ll be making mine with gin. In cooler weather, switch to cognac.

1 ounce gin (like Citadel or G’Vine from France)

1/2 ounce homemade sour mix

4 ounces brut champagne, chilled

brandy-soaked cherry, for garnish

Add the gin and sour mix to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a champagne flute. Top with the champagne and drop in the cherry.

 

2. The French Martini

French Martini – image courtesy Chambord

France has been the source of some amazing liqueurs  and mixers — Grand Marnier, Chartreuse, creme de violette and the new darling St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. But few are as beloved as Chambord, the black raspberry liqueur in the spherical bottle that dates to the late 1600s. The company created a French martini as a marketing campaign and the cocktail has found an appreciative audience.

1-1/2 ounces Chambord flavored vodka

1/2 ounce Chambord Liqueur

2 ounces pineapple juice

fresh raspberries, for garnish

Add the vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a petite martini glass. Garnish with raspberries.

3. Kir Royale

 

The Kir Royale – image from The Bubbly Bar

This old favorite of mine honors Felix Kir, the former mayor of Dijon, France who was a heroic figure in the 1940s French Resistance. The regular Kir features white Burgundy (chardonnay) wine and crème de cassis; the upgraded Kir Royale is always made with champagne. Old Felix must have been an amazing guy to have such an elegant and enduring cocktail named after him.

½ ounce crème de cassis

5 to 6 ounces brut champagne, chilled

Lemon twist, for garnish

Add crème de cassis to a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.