Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

When Orange Meets Black

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Halloween Drink #2 of 2

Ladies and gentleman, I attempted something so breathtaking, so amazing, so essential to the art of making cocktails, that I astounded even myself… 

OK, so that was overblown – but it is an election season and therefore not out of place. The reality went like this:

  1. I saw some layered orange and black Halloween drinks online
  2. I coveted
  3. I was pretty sure I’d flub the technique and the drink.

But –surprise! – creating a layered drink was so much easier than expected. Granted, I was floating only one liquor rather than creating multiple layers (common in shots like the B-52), but I was successful nonetheless.

Most of the online recipes used orange juice and Blavod black vodka, which would make a great Screwdriver for a Halloween brunch (do those exist?). I had some Santa Cruz Mango Lemonade on hand, though, and its bright orange color was ideal. With a few extra ingredients thrown in and a black vodka float, it’s tasty and Halloween-y.  

Black + Orange

2 oz Santa Cruz Mango Lemonade beverage
½ oz limoncello liqueur
¼ oz lime juice
Dash orange bitters
1 oz black vodka to float on top

Mix together the first four ingredients in a highball with several ice cubes.  Then, turn the “bowl” of a spoon upside down and touch the tip against the side of the glass either just below or above the juice’s surface. Pour the black vodka gently over the bowl of the spoon; breaking the fall of the vodka against the spoon maintains the liquid’s surface tension and keeps the two from mixing. To ensure an even layer, move the spoon to the other side of the glass halfway through the pour.  

The black and orange layers are quite distinct, and the orange eerily shines through the ice cubes floating in black.  It all makes for great presentation; however, drinking it this way means a mouthful of straight vodka. Stir it up and you’ve got a gruesome green color that is also perfect for Halloween!

  Cheers, ICE


Tips & Tricks: Just Chill

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Learning about cocktail making has me stumbling around a lot. No, not due to my blood-alcohol level, because in looking up recipes or techniques I tend to stumble upon really useful tips and tricks. I plan to share these in an occasional series called…wait for it…Tips & Tricks.

First up is chilling those cocktail glasses.  When a drink is served “up,” meaning without ice, you are counting on the ice in the cocktail shaker to properly chill the drink before serving. To keep it chilled for a reasonable amount of time, you need a cold glass.

Yes, you can put the glasses in the refrigerator or freezer for a few hours if you have the space. I just can’t see my husband being pleased when he reaches in for the orange juice and ends up with an empty (but well chilled) glass. And we don’t have any extra space in there (what with all the infused simple syrups, vermouths and other cocktail elements hogging the place), especially before a party or dinner with friends.

I usually opt for a quicker method: Quick chilling by filling the glasses with water and crushed ice before making the cocktail. The crushed ice is important, because in combination with water it quickly creates a very cold slush. After shaking the drink in the cocktail shaker, dump the cold slush and strain your cocktail into the chilled glass. Your cocktail will be crisp and cold.

Depending on the drink – like for martinis or those rimmed with sugar or salt – you will want to dry the glass first. I don’t feel this is a necessary step for drinks that include juice or simple syrups because you are already adding water in some form to the liquor. 

Not many of us have an endless supply of clean cocktail glasses at home, so this chilling method would be efficient for a party. You can refill and re-chill a guest’s glass without mingling used glasses as you would be by dipping the glasses into an ice bath.  Enjoy your chilly drinks!

Cheers, ICE