Posts Tagged ‘grapes’

Divide and Concord

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Apples and pumpkins get a lot of the cocktail attention in autumn, but the drink below is a worthy way to buck those trends and go grape.

Grape jelly is one of the most delicious memories of childhood and produces hands-down the best  PB & J. That flavor of Concord grapes is the one we most associate with grape-ness.  But it’s time that grapes get off our sandwiches, and make the jump from our juice – or wine – glasses to our cocktails.

One great cross between grape and cocktail is the Divide and Concord, featured in the September/October issue of Imbibe Magazine and credited to Tona Palomino at Trenchermen in Chicago. Combining grape juice, gin, absinthe and egg white, it is fruity and creamy without being cloying.

  

Divide and Concord

1 oz Concord grape juice (fresh pressed or store-bought bottled)
1 ½ oz gin
¼ oz absinthe
¾ oz simple syrup
½ oz lime juice
½ oz egg white
¼ oz heavy cream

Combine all ingredients and shake without ice. Add ice and shake again. Double-strain into a chilled glass. For more details about using egg whites in cocktails, see my previous egg white post.

Note: I omitted the cream because I didn’t have any on hand, but didn’t feel like anything was missing.

 

One obstacle to eating Concord grapes is those annoying seeds, but growers have solved that problem with the introduction of the Thomcord, a cross between seedless Thompson table grapes and the Concord. You can even use store-bought Concord grape juice  (I tried it with great results) if the produce is unavailable: Look for brands with no added sugars. There’s nothing holding you back from this drink!

Cheers, ICE

 

PS: Do you know, photos are a big reason I don’t post much? They aren’t my strength in the first place, plus I often forget/circumstances don’t allow me to take a photo of a great drink and then I never end up posting about it because I lack a picture. So I’m breaking with “blog protocol.” Maybe I will post more, and then you will just have my ramblings and great drink recipes unpunctuated by mediocre pics. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? 

 

Do not fear the liquor and beer

Monday, June 25th, 2012
Beer before liquor, never sicker
Liquor before beer, never fear…

So they say, but what happens when the beer is mixed with the liquor?!  My report: so far, so good.

My flirtation with beer in cocktails has been picking up speed. It started with the humble shandy and has progressed to other interesting concoctions. I have a feeling I will be reporting on more of these “aletails” this summer, starting with the “One Sunset.”

The “One Sunset” was featured on Imbibe Magazine online after appearing in the new book Beer Cocktails by Howard and Ashley Stelzer. After sampling the “One Sunset,” this book is now on top of my wish list.

One Sunset

6 red grapes
10 fresh mint leaves
2 oz vodka
¾ oz Aperol
¾ oz simple syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
1 ½ oz amber lager (I used Full Sail’s LTD #05)
grapes and mint to garnish (optional)

In a mixing glass, gently muddle grapes and mint leaves. Add ice and remaining ingredients (except the beer). Stir until well chilled and strain into a Collins glass. Top with beer and garnish.

This aletail has a touch of bitter from the Aperol and the lager, but tastes light and refreshing. Since I had the open bottle of lager, I tried subsequent variations that reduced and then omitted the vodka (sometimes substituting plain club soda). I didn’t miss the vodka in taste, and leaving it out creates a lighter-alcohol drink that can be enjoyably sipped all of a summer afternoon without serious consequences. 

Better yet for continuous sipping, I scaled and tweaked the recipe to create a pitcher drink:

One Sunset Pitcher

48 red grapes
30 mint leaves
8 oz vodka
6 oz Aperol
6 oz simple syrup
4 oz lemon juice
8 oz club soda
1 bottle amber lager

Muddle grapes and strain. Muddle mint leaves and grape juice, then add vodka, Aperol, lemon juice and simple syrup. Mix together and chill for at least one hour. Add beer and club soda just before serving. Stir gently and pour over ice to serve. Makes 8 servings. 

 Cheers, ICE

 As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.