Posts Tagged ‘grenadine’

Eggs: To Drink, Not to Dye

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Some post-Easter fun with those leftover eggs:

Want to amuse yourself when friends come over? Ask them if they want a cocktail and see their faces light up. Then ask how they feel about egg whites in their drink and watch them shudder.

It’s too bad, because a properly made cocktail with egg whites – traditionally called a Flip – is divine. It is frothy, foamy and light, NOT slimy or thick. And the perfect choice when I’ve done a kick-ass barre3 workout and later need some extra protein (this is my excuse to go from barre to bar).   

Pink Lady, a classic cocktail with egg whites

 I have to admit the process can be messy. Separating the egg white from the yolk isn’t too difficult, but I find the current accepted shaking technique to be drippy and annoying. Also, some people are wary of salmonella*, although I also don’t avoid cookie dough or a Caesar salad for that reason. 

In the name of research I launched my Great Egg White Experiment to find the best products and approach. I tried pasteurized powdered eggs, pasteurized carton egg whites, chilled eggs and not, shaking with crushed ice, cubed ice and no ice. Yeah, I totaled a lot of cocktails!  And I found a great solution. Read on for the best method, plus recipes of course!

Challenging the Accepted Wisdom of The Double Shake

The double shake is considered the best way to emulsify a drink with egg whites. It calls for adding together the egg white and all ingredients and shaking well first with no ice, then adding ice and shaking well again. The problem is that opening the shaker to add the ice creates a drippy mess down the sides and an unacceptable loss of liquor! But it does create good froth…too much of it, actually. It ends up reminding me of a bad tap pour; I don’t want that much head on my beer or my cocktail.

What if we skip that first shake without ice. What happens? A sad, forlorn layer of foam is the result. Looking at it, you’d barely know it was a flip.  Drinking it, you’d miss the creamy texture.

In other attempts I did have slightly better results doing a solo shake with crushed ice instead of cubed. Maybe all the small pieces served to better whip the egg white. But while respectable, it still wasn’t the ideal amount of foam.  A chilled egg versus one kept at room temperature also didn’t make a difference.

Powdered vs Carton Egg Whites 

Eggbeaters vs. Powdered in a PC Fizz

 For those concerned about food-borne illness, using a pasteurized product is an option.  For a head-to-head competition I made the same drink using each.

I found the powdered egg whites in the baking section at the grocery store and followed the directions to reconstitute it by mixing 2 tablespoons of powder with 1 ounce of warm water. Then I mixed and mixed. Even using my tiny whisk it was difficult to get the clumps out and rather tedious.

For the competition I used Eggbeaters Egg Whites, managing to find a carton without added coloring, unlike the last time when the “yellow” egg whites turned my drink baby shit brown. Yuck.

Employing the double-shake technique (see above) for both, I deemed the Eggbeaters to be the clear winner. Not only was it easier with no extra mixing, it produced the perfect amount of foam. The powdered eggs, perhaps because of the pre-whisking, just produced too much foam.  Both drinks tasted and felt exactly the same while drinking.

The Solution

Sticking to fresh eggs because they are always on hand, I tried another approach. If this is recommended elsewhere, I haven’t seen it so I’ll consider it my “breakthrough.” But I will let you use it because I’m nice like that.

I was thinking about the additional foam created by the powdered egg whites and the pre-whisking involved, and I wondered:  Would whisking an egg white (fresh or carton) – just as I do before making scrambled eggs – then adding ingredients and ice for a single shake be a good substitute for that pre-ice shaking used in the double shake technique?  Why, yes it is! In fact, it created the perfect amount of foam for my PC Fizz with no extra mess or time. 

Voila, a perfect PC Fizz!

 Woo hoo, let’s celebrate with a couple of drinks I used during my mad science trials:

The PC Fizz – from the MixShakeStir cocktail book

1 ½ oz Pimm’s No. 1
½ oz chartreuse (either yellow or green)
1 oz simple syrup
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz lime juice
1 egg white
pinch of pumpkin pie spice to garnish

 Add egg white to shaker and whisk (use a fork or small whisk) until foamy. Add all ingredients (except pie spice) and ice, and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, garnish with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice on top of the foam and enjoy. Note:  I like this drink with either green chartreuse for a brighter drink or the yellow for a mellower version.

The next drink is a classic. Pink and tasty:

The Pink Lady

1 ½ oz gin
½ oz applejack
¾ oz lemon juice
¼ oz grenadine
1 egg white

 Add egg white to shaker and whisk (use a fork or small whisk) until foamy. Add all ingredients and ice, and shake well. Strain into a wine glass.

So now you have no excuses. Pasteurized carton egg whites are as tasty in drinks as fresh. Whisking the egg white is less messy than alternatives. Using egg whites provides texture and elegance to cocktails. It’s time to mug a chicken.

 Cheers, ICE

*what, actually, is the risk of salmonella poisoning from an egg white? Very small according to Lawrence Pong, principal health inspector and manager of food-borne illness outbreak investigations for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco: “Egg whites are alkaline in nature, and salmonella colonies cannot survive there.”  Plus it seems that the alcohol present in cocktail would also inhibit bacteria.




Lavender Freshens Up a Mimosa…or Mocktail

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A good friend of mine is having a baby soon (very!) and we mobilized to throw her a shower. Of course, she couldn’t drink alcohol and it hardly seemed fair to serve what the guest of honor could not drink at all. So I found a neat solution with two tasty drinks.

Several of my cocktail books also feature mocktails, although I admit they are the least used sections. One provided the recipe for a nice lavender drink and it was a simple matter to swap out the club soda with Prosecco for guests wanting a unique mimosa instead. The lavender syrup was ridiculously easy to make, as is the homemade grenadine I’ve mentioned before.

Lavender syrup:

4 oz sugar
4 oz water
1/2 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds

 Heat sugar and water on the stovetop until sugar is dissolved to make simple syrup. Remove from heat and add lavender buds (I used a loose tea holder to contain the buds). Let steep for 25 minutes, then strain into an airtight container and let cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


Lady Lavender’s Mocktail or Mimosa (single), my variation:

3 oz fresh grapefruit juice (I used 2 oz lemonade and 1 oz Rio Star grapefruit instead)
¾ oz
Lavender Syrup
¼ oz grenadine
2 oz chilled club soda OR substitute sparkling wine for the mimosa
1 basil sprig
1 fresh lavender sprig (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the grapefruit juice, Lavender Syrup and grenadine and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled glass, stir in the club soda/sparkling wine and garnish with the basil and lavender sprigs.

Pitcher Quantity (makes 24 drinks):

6 c. lemonade (I used the Simply Lemonade brand)
3 c. pink grapefruit juice (I used Tropicana Ruby Red)
2 ¼ c. Lavender Syrup
¾ c. grenadine
Bottle each of club soda and sparkling wine

 Mix the first four ingredients prior to the event and chill well. Add the club soda or sparkling wine to individual glasses at serving.

In order to attend to other details and not babysit the drinks, we put out the pitcher of mocktail mix, ice, bottles of chilled club soda and Prosecco, and instructions for guests to top their drinks with either club soda or Prosecco according to their preference, so this drink gives hosts and guests great flexibility. It is also a variable mix as you can play around with the ratios of grapefruit juice, lemon juice or lemonade, and syrups to find the sweetness or tartness that suits you.

A great drink for an Easter brunch or other occasion. In our case, the drinks were pink and perfect to sip while anticipating baby girl Coco’s arrival!

Cheers, ICE

The original Lady Lavender Mocktail was created by bartender Gregory Best of Atlanta and featured as a Food & Wine cocktail.

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


No Shortage of Cocktails From New Orleans

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Since starting on this cocktail mania, I’ve heard a lot about the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans each summer (July 21-25 this year). Since it combines two fascinations for me – cocktails and New Orleans – I am understandably interested in the goings on. While I won’t be attending this year, I am content with a few related pleasures, namely sipping the official Tales of the Cocktail drink, a new season of HBO’s True Blood, and three bottles of New Orleans booze my friend Dee brought back from her visit there.  I am hardly suffering.

I had hoped that Dee could bring me back a mini-bottle of rye whiskey to sample. Instead, she hauled home a fifth each of Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum, and Praline Pecan Liqueur for me. I’ve had fun experimenting with these, and it still surprises me that I like whiskey:  I have always associated it with stiff, hair-on-your-chest drinks, but have been shown otherwise by some great recipes and generous friends.

If you have some rye whiskey, try out The Scofflaw. It was created during the Prohibition in Paris and named after those illegally drinking in the U.S., called scofflaws. Another blogger provides more history and the recipe here.  This is a good year-round drink, not too summery or too heavy for any season, and I would happily order it in a bar. As a bonus, I was able to use some of the grenadine I made recently; however, I have learned that Stirrings now makes a genuine bottled grenadine that sounds promising.

The Scofflaw

1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz grenadine (homemade or Stirring’s brand)
3/4 oz lemon juice
2-3 dashes orange bitters

Add ice and all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled glass and enjoy!

I also found a great refreshing summer drink in the Cajun Spiced Rum bottle: The Cajun Iced Tea. The beauty of this kind of drink is that it’s “loose” because it doesn’t require exact measurements, and it’s easy because no shaker is involved. It was also a great excuse for a drink in the afternoon (you know, so the caffeine wouldn’t keep me up at night). This rum is different than other spiced rums I’ve tried – mainly of the Captain Morgan’s variety – but not hot spicy like the “Cajun” would imply.

Cajun Iced Tea with my New Orleans trio.

Cajun Iced Tea

1 ½ oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum
½  oz simple syrup
½ oz lemon juice (optional but a good addition)
Unsweetened iced tea

Fill a tall glass with ice, add all the ingredients to fill, and then stir and serve with a lemon slice.

The above fulfill my liquid New Orleans needs at home, but I also discovered an incredible drink at the Chantanee Thai Restaurant’s Naga Cocktail Bar, which boasts that it is the only craft cocktail lounge in Bellevue, Washington. No surprise that it is the official Tales of the Cocktail drink this year, because it is fabulous. Head straight there – now! – to order the Death in the South Pacific and go to cocktail heaven.

Cheers, ICE


Drinks that evoke, not erase, memories

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

For my latest cocktail experiments I went old school. It was quite by accident, but the results were pleasant.

When I was 11 or so, my family took ski trips in Germany and stayed in a WWII-era hotel where they served syrupy Shirley Temples heaping with maraschino cherries.  I have fond memories of slurping those down while playing Pac Man, Space Invaders and pinball in the tiny arcade. When I kept running into grenadine in various cocktail recipes, those tooth-achingly sweet drinks came to mind. Eventually I learned that real grenadine is actually made with pomegranate juice and only bears the color red in common with the commercial “grenadine” sold in the U.S.  And, it is ridiculously easy to make.

Tequila Sunrise with homemade grenadine

Easy homemade grenadine

1. Combine 1 bottle (16 oz) of pomegranate juice with 1 c. of sugar
2. Simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the mix coats the back of a spoon
3. Remove from heat and add a couple dashes of orange flower water (I found mine near the bottled grenadine at the grocery store – but don’t be tempted to buy that instead!)
4. Once cooled, pour into an airtight bottle and refrigerate. It will keep for 2-3 weeks and makes about 2 cups.

After I made my batch, I taste-tested it against a forgotten bottle of Rose’s brand grenadine …what a difference! They taste nothing alike. While both sweet, the homemade grenadine is a bit thicker, richer and has a slight tartness. The store-bought grenadine has high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and dyes red 40 and blue 1. It looked pretty going down the drain: I’m pretty sure my regular Diet Cokes give me all the liquid chemicals a body needs.

Now was the time for my kids to try their nick-namesakes the Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers drinks. I didn’t have any glowing-red maraschino cherries, but the drinks disappeared quickly anyway (I used about 4 oz each of 7-up and cola with 1/2 oz each of grenadine).

Moving on, I decided to try a classic with grenadine, the Tequila Sunrise. If I’ve ever had this iconic 70’s drink, I must not have been too impressed. But perhaps that was due to artificial grenadine or crud tequila in some college bar, because the one I mixed tonight was so very tasty.  So easy and no shaker required!

Tequila Sunrise

1 ½ oz tequila
3 oz orange juice
¼ to ½ oz homemade grenadine

Mix the tequila and orange juice over ice, then slowly add the grenadine to achieve the “sunrise” effect. This would be a nice party drink because larger quantities of the tequila and orange juice can be mixed in advance and each serving quickly finished with the grenadine.

Lastly, when patrolling for recipes to use my new grenadine (and there are tons à la Google), I ran into a drink that uses Jägermeister, that nemesis of shot-haters everywhere. I’m quite curious about this drink:

Bed of Roses    

1 ½  oz Jägermeister
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz homemade grenadine syrup
½ oz fresh lime juice
Lime slice and cherry for garnish

Combine all ingredients and shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish, sip and then post a comment here to tell me how it is!

When I asked Red Hook if we had any Jägermeister (buried deep) in the liquor cabinet, his response was a weary, “I don’t know what’s in there anymore.” 

Yes, it’s probably better that way.

Cheers, ICE