Posts Tagged ‘liqueur’

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Monday, October 18th, 2010
Halloween Drink #1 of 2…

Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, hence the name for this drink. This one is my own creation, using my newest find: black vodka!

I may be all very “2000 and late,” as Fergie would sing, but Blavod black vodka was a revelation to me. I didn’t know such a thing existed. Perfect for Halloween, it added enough darkness to this drink to get it close to that blood red quality I was looking for. By the way, I created the Bloody Sunday for a friend’s party, so the store-bought sparkling pomegranate juice made for easy mixin’.

Bloody Sunday punch — serves 16

16 oz Blavod black vodka
8 oz limon rum
8 oz Velvet Falernum
25 oz Trader Joe’s Sparkling Pomegranate beverage
2 oz 1 ½ oz absinthe

Stirring gently, mix all ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl. Serve with crushed ice.  Note this recipe change: When scaling this recipe I used 2 oz of absinthe, but after playing with it a bit, I recommend starting with only 1 ½ oz, stir, taste and add more if desired.

The Bloody Sunday, along with Blavod in its spiffy wet suit…in case you want to go diving with your vodka? You can see the black hue of the vodka in the shot glass.

Blavod (aside: What a lame name. Oh, and it comes in its own wet suit. Huh?) is vodka tinted by the bark of black catechu, which is used for a variety of medicinal and commercial purposes, including as dye.  The black catechu doesn’t add much flavor, so it can work in any vodka drink.

As a responsible blogger, I tested the Blavod and can assure you that, a) it will not discolor your teeth while drinking, like black food coloring certainly would, and b) if a sloppy guest spills some on your cream carpet or sexy nurse’s costume, the vodka won’t leave a stain. Whew. 

Cheers, ICE


Green With Envy

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Nearly 20 years spanned between my first taste of gin and my second. (No, I did not first try it when I was 10 years old, but it’s flattering of you to assume so).  Being that tree sap is not a taste I wanted to acquire – aside from maple syrup – I shunned gin from that first taste forward. Urged to try it again several months ago, I did so grudgingly.

Surprisingly, it was just fine – showing me that I should make room in my liquor cabinet for the right kinds of gin. It wasn’t until a recommendation from bartender Chris Faber at the Naga Bar (note: I hear he has moved to Bellevue’s Lot 3), however, that found one I truly like. Aviation Gin is mellow, doesn’t have a dominating juniper taste and makes a great drink. Trolling through the distiller’s Web site (often good sources for recipes), I found this fantastic cocktail:

Kiwi Envy

4 thin, skinned kiwi slices
2 oz gin
¾ oz St. Germain liqueur
½ oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
1 oz club soda

Muddle the kiwi in a cocktail shaker, and add the ice, gin, liqueur, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake well to chill. Strain into ice-filled Collins glass and add club soda. Stir gently and serve. Note: I chose to serve it “up,” meaning in a chilled cocktail glass without ice (i.e., martini-style), and double-strained it to remove the seeds.

This drink is so good that I made it several nights in a row. St. Germain (a delicate elderflower liqueur) was already one of my favorite liqueurs, and I’m always happy to bring out that gorgeous bottle.  With this new gin and recipe, I have more reasons to do so.  If you are a gin-avoider, Aviation might convert you.

Cheers, ICE


Summer Sippin’ With a Cherry on Top

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I am firmly in the camp of “market-fresh mixology,” so the call of cherry season was hard to resist, as were the local deals on Bing cherries.  Of course, eating all of them straight would have been a shame with all this booze in the house.

Instead, I attempted two separate recipes for boozy cherries: brandied cherries and maraschino cherries – the kind with real maraschino liqueur rather than the commercial ones made with artificial flavors, unnatural colors, high fructose corn syrup and perhaps cherries. One recipe was a real winner.

Lu's Brandied Cherries

First, I should mention that I am not enamored with the taste of my Luxardo maraschino liqueur. In fact, it is one of the few bottles that I’ve regretted purchasing. So I didn’t really expect to much like the maraschino cherries, but surprises do happen…just not this time.  This was disappointing because they keep for 3 months and would have helped keep my summer drink vibe going into fall.

So I will have to be content with my fleeting – but incredibly tasty – brandied cherries. I used this recipe from Imbibe Magazine with delicious results.

Lu’s Brandied Cherries

1 lb sweet cherries, pitted
½ c. sugar
½ c. water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. brandy (I used Metaxa Greek brandy but any should do)

Wash and pit the cherries (warning: my fingernails were stained for days so gloves would be helpful). In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 weeks.

To showcase my cherries I chose the Cherry Blossom Sling, from my MixShakeStir cocktail book. The book also has a brandied cherries recipe, but I was missing several ingredients. Lu’s worked quite well, and the recipe allowed me to incorporate some of the yummy liquid into the drink.

Cherry Blossom Sling

3 brandied cherries, plus a splash of liquid
3 lime wedges
1 ½ oz gin
¼ oz Cherry Heering (a cherry liqueur)
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz fresh lime juice
Splash of soda water
Dash of Angostura bitters

Muddle the cherries and lime wedges in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and all ingredients except the soda water and bitters and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, add the soda water and bitters, and serve.

Cheers, ICE


I Likey the Lychee

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Do you know what a lychee is? I sure didn’t. It shows up in cocktail recipes here and there, often listed as “canned lychee,” but my grocery stores had no such thing in the canned fruit/vegetable aisle. I had written those drinks off as too obscure for my feeble cocktailing efforts when I found a container of lychees in the refrigerated fruit section at Trader Joe’s. Well, hello! Not one to resist a new drink ingredient, of course I needed to try them out.

Which presented another problem: How does one prepare or eat a lychee? They have thin but crispy shells that do not appear appetizing.  Once peeled, the fruit looks like an eyeball (and here I made a tactical error by showing my kids this, thereby guaranteeing that no way in hell would they taste it); a juicy, lightly fragrant eyeball, but still. And hidden in the center is a hard nut that looks like a black bean.

Lychee Rum Swizzle

Eventually I decided to just muddle the fruit part and strain out the juice, a pretty easy task. I stirred up this recipe for the Lychee Rum Swizzle, and it made me a lychee lover.

Lychee Rum Swizzle

1 1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz lychee fruit juice (about 3 lychees)
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup (my addition)
2 dashes Peyschauds bitters

Peel lychee fruit, then tear juicy fruit away from inner nut. Muddle fruit (about 3 lychees) to yield 1/2 oz juice. Add all ingredients to a highball filled with crushed ice, then swizzle with a bar spoon until glass is frosty. Note: I changed the original recipe slightly because I had only fresh lychee fruit and not canned with syrup, so I added the simple syrup to balance the lime juice.

Swizzle drinks hail from Caribbean islands, where bartenders rub the handle of a bar spoon in between their hands – much like a scout starting a fire with sticks – in order to rapidly mix and chill the glass. Velvet Falernum, also hailing from the Caribbean, is a sweet liqueur tasting of cloves and spices. It is also great mixed with club soda and lime for a quick refresher, and non-alcoholic versions of falernum are available.

After doing a little lychee research, I’ve learned they are from China and therefore more common in Asian cooking.  Fresh lychees are not typical around here, so in the future I might have better luck finding canned lychee in the Asian section of the store. If you find some, try out this drink. It is well worth muddling a few eyeballs.

Cheers, ICE