Posts Tagged ‘muddling’

A perfect pitcher: herbs, tequila and Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Wow, I think my calendar did stop since my last post because here it is almost Cinco de Mayo. ..

Here is a quick quiz. When hankering for a drink on Cinco de Mayo, do you:

  1. Avoid tequila because of “that one time when I…” ? (then you really should see my past post on the subject).
  2. Embrace the tequila, but drown the taste with artificial sweet and sour mix, or worse, one of those pre-mixed, pre-frozen tubs of margaritas (“Just Add Tequila!”).
  3. Say the hell with it, and grab some Mexican beer instead?

I’m not a counselor, so I won’t be diagnosing where you fall on the scale of tequila-avoiders. Nor can I relate to your plight because I love tequila. Nonetheless, I do have a solution.  I call it Herbaceous*, but that’s partly for lack of inspiration (do you know, naming cocktails is often harder than creating them?).

Herbaceous* mixes a couple of tasty herbs while cutting the tequila with vodka. I can’t even remember why I did this initially – did I run out of tequila? – but it works. Red and my friend PRS, both tequila shunners, like this pitcher drink a lot. The taste of tequila is still present, but softer, and pairs seamlessly with the flavors of cilantro and lemon-thyme. The overall ratio of booze to non-booze makes it light and refreshing.

The Herbaceous pitcher drink uses muddle cilantro and lemon-thyme syrup. Use about this much lemon-thyme per 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water.

The Herbaceous pitcher drink uses muddle cilantro and lemon-thyme syrup. Twelve stems of cilantro are shown here on the cutting board. Use about this much lemon-thyme (on the right) per 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water for the syrup.

Herbaceous*

Bunch of cilantro (approx. 12 stems)
6 oz reposado tequila
6 oz vodka
6 oz fresh lime juice
11 oz lemon-thyme syrup
24 oz club soda

Muddle the cilantro with lime juice in a pitcher. Add lemon-thyme syrup, tequila and vodka and stir well. Refrigerate for one hour, and then gently stir in chilled club soda. Serve on the rocks in a short bucket glass.  The recipe above serves 12.

Lemon-Thyme Syrup

1 c. sugar
1 c. water
4-5 stems of lemon-thyme (see photo)

Boil sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and drop in rinsed lemon-thyme stems. Cover and steep for 30 minutes, then strain out solids and cool liquid. Makes 12 ounces.  I recommend doubling this recipe so that you have the syrup ready for an ice tea sweetener – I keep this on hand year-round.

I brought this creation to two functions last summer and it disappeared quickly. Enjoy it with friends at a Cinco de Mayo gathering, and keep the recipe on hand for summer days. ¡Salud!

Cheers, HEILO

For more Cinco de Mayo options, see my previous posts: Granada de Amor and  St. Rosemary.

*Seriously, do you have another suggestion?

 

Crossing the Bridge

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Look at me go: the third post in a row with my own creation! I feel like I’m in touch with my inner mixologist. Or maybe my inner lush. Sometimes they are very hard to tell apart.

My inner mixologist pointed out that many of my herbs will soon be departing for winter. My inner lush reminded me that pear vodka is great in the fall. So I shook up the following concoction, sort of a bridge between summer and fall; or a bridge between mixologist and lush.

 Bridge the Gap

 4 large sage leaves
3 inch rosemary sprig
1 1/2 oz le poire vodka*
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 simple syrup

 Muddle sage and rosemary with lemon juice; add ice, vodka and simple syrup and shake well. Double strain into a rocks glass with ice. Add additional sage leaf to garnish (optional).

 

Something else that will satisfy my dual inner voices is the new Swig Well, a “drinking academy” started by Anu Apte, bartender/owner of Rob Roy in Seattle. Anu presented a preview class just for LUPEC members last week, where she demonstrated how tweaks to a cocktail can help us match our “Memories in a Glass.” Classes are open to the general public by reservation, unless otherwise noted. I can’t wait!  Looks like I’ll be spending more time on a bridge — the 520.

 Cheers, ICE

 *I find most flavored vodkas too sweet or artificial tasting, but the Grey Goose Le Poire is quite nice.

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

 

When catnip is not an option

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

My cat is stressed. Or not. Or he is depressed. Or not. All I know is that I’m now giving Nacho Libre a low-dose antidepressant that the vet says should calm the “fight or flight” response making him pee around the garage and wake us up at night. Actually, I’m not really sure what the vet said because I was very busy thinking, “what the bleeeep?!” and executing some massive eye rolling. But even better was when the pharmacist, explaining that the med gel should be applied to Nacho’s ear, presented me with wee little “condoms” for my finger and started to show me how to put them on. No, they do not feature a reservoir tip.

I got Nacho neutered specifically to avoid this awkward conversation.

 I think what Nacho really needs is a kitty kocktail. Something to take the edge off after romping through the yard and arguing with sassy squirrels. But I don’t have any catnip or, frankly, much motivation to pamper the beast right now.  So, I made a new cocktail for myself by repurposing the yummy ginger-habañero syrup from last summer’s post. And I shall name it…P.O.’d. Because I am every time Nacho wakes me up.

 P.O.’d

 1 ½ oz golden rum
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz ginger-habañero syrup
5 basil leaves + 1 for garnish
2 dashes orange bitters
1 oz club soda

Muddle basil in glass, add ice and mix remaining ingredients together. Do not share with your cat. 

The basil lends a nice cooling touch to the spicy syrup and makes me think of chilly evenings cooling down warm days as summer wanes.  Mmmm, much better than catnip!

Hey, paws off -- that’s Nacho liquor!

 

 Cheers, ICE

 

¡Salud to Cinco de Mayo cócteles!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Although we are far from the U.S.-Mexico border here in Seattle and my kids can speak more Spanish than I can, we do have a cat named Nacho Libre and I’m always happy to lift a glass in celebration.  I think that’s enough to get my tequila revved and ready for Cinco de Mayo.

 

El luchador mexicano dice: "Escucha al HIELO, este es un cóctel muy bueno!"(translation: The Mexican wrestler says, "Listen to ICE, this is a very good cocktail!")

This cocktail, the St. Rosemary by mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout, is another approachable tequila drink (more here) that is easy to make and chug, er, sip.

St. Rosemary

Leaves from a 1-inch rosemary sprig, plus 1 rosemary sprig for garnish
¼ oz fresh lime juice
1¾ oz  reposado tequila
¾ oz  St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1¼ oz apple juice, preferably unfiltered

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the rosemary leaves with the lime juice. Add ice and all of the remaining ingredients except the garnish and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the rosemary sprig.

¡Salud, ICE

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