Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

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

 

Drinks With a Bite

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Ha, I’m betting my headline misled that I’m posting vampire-related drinks, what with the Twilight Eclipse movie releasing this week.  Given that I lean Team Jacob, any cocktail would have to have garlic in it – which sounds just gross — and a Bloody Mary seemed too obvious.  So instead the bite is about spicy…

As my liquid weekend in Portland confirmed, I love the drinks with heat. Not torched-mouth heat, just the kind with a nice burn in the back of the throat.  Apart from muddling a jalapeno or adding a little Serrano pepper juice, I haven’t worked much with peppers at home. After pulling this recipe out of my stash so many times, I decided to attempt both the pepper-infused syrup AND turning a single cocktail into a pitcher drink.  Ooh, this could have been dangerous.

**Ginger-Habañero Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
 1 seeded habañero
2 oz sliced fresh ginger

Heat to just before boiling and sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat. After 5 minutes off heat, scoop out peppers. Allow remaining mixture to cool and strain out ginger. Keeps in refrigerator for 3 weeks in a sealed container. Makes 10 ounces.

Since I didn’t find habañeros at the store, I substituted two Serrano peppers per instructions on various Web sites about peppers and cooking substitutes. I also used 3 tablespoons of jarred sliced ginger because I have no idea how to cook with fresh ginger. These were fine substitutions because the end syrup was delish. It was also wonderfully easy to make.

Next came the challenge of scaling the cocktail recipe to pitcher proportions. The original recipe is The Chadwick and was created by bartender Adam Seger at Nacional 27 in Chicago.  Since I had only 10 oz of syrup and the original recipe called for 1 oz, I knew I had to multiply the other ingredients by 10 as well. This was easily done with this particular recipe, although I chose to add a little extra of this and that in the end. I also opted to use 3 ounces of lime juice rather than muddle 20 lime quarters.

Here is my pitcher version of The Chadwick:

30 large mint leaves
5 oz dark rum
7 oz light rum
12 oz pomegranate juice
3 oz lime juice
10 oz spiced syrup
33 oz club soda

Muddle mint leaves with lime juice, add in all ingredients except club soda to chill in refrigerator. Add club soda before serving.

In hindsight, I could have added all dark rum, as the original listed, and more of it. Considering how quickly the pitcher was drained, no one at the BBQ seemed to mind, though. I was left wishing I had doubled the syrup recipe so that I could have made a larger pitcher AND been able to try this non-alcohol Nojito from the same creator:

Pomegranate-Ginger-Chile Nojito

Sugar + 1 oz pomegranate juice for rim of collins glass
½ lime, quartered
8 mint leaves
¾ oz ginger-chile syrup
1 oz pomegranate juice
3 oz chilled club soda

Moisten the outer rim of a collins glass with 1 ounce of the pomegranate juice and coat lightly with sugar. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime quarters with the mint leaves and Ginger-Habanero Syrup. Add ice and the remaining 1 ounce of pomegranate juice and shake well. Strain into the prepared collins glass and stir in the club soda.

These drinks are sure to add heat and praise to your 4th of July function!

Cheers, ICE

 

Portland: Drink, eat, repeat

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I mentioned in a previous post that I needed my own field trip and got my wish last weekend. Four of us trained it down to Portland, Oregon, for a weekend of ridiculously good food and cocktails. This town has it going on. Let me and my spicy booze connoisseurs take you on a tour.

We were all aboard for afternoon cocktails.

Friday, 1st round

We took the Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Portland and this is the way to go. Of course we tried out the onboard drink selection. A split bottle of wine for “Dee” (who felt a straw was much more klassy than chugging it out of the bottle), a cranberry-vodka for me and a surprisingly good Bloody Mary – with real worstershire sauce and not a mix! – for PRS. Meanwhile, T. atypically abstained so I assume she had a few shots prior.  It was a rolling prefunc for our weekend away.

Friday, 2nd round

Dinner on Friday night was at Southpark in downtown Portland. The drink menu appeared to have many exciting choices, but the server/bartender scrambled our drink orders enough that I’m a little confused about what we drank and when.  We went crazy for what we thought was the Foxtrot – lillet blanc, gin and a reisling reduction – but was probably the Peartini – Absolut Pear, lemon juice, simple syrup and amaretto with a sugar rim. The food was delicious, though. Best of all, my three wine-loving friends declared it a cocktail weekend. To me, this is the equivalent of the drunken, “I love you, man.” Right back ‘atcha, my Sacsayhuamán friends!

Saturday, 1st round

Our pre-lunch cards and cocktails.

We started the morning with coffee and tea rather than Bloody Marys, so remedied that at lunch. Stopping in at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, we were expecting a slightly dive place to play a few rounds of cards, but instead found a slicker bar and grill with exceptional food and drinks. The mention of their salad with pear, manchego cheese and jalapeno dressing and the smoked turkey ciabatta sandwiches still makes me drool. The Bloodys were cold, thick and just-right spicy, fueling us for lots of walking in the afternoon that included a trip to the liquor store (just can’t help myself).

There we stocked up on minis to recreate Southpark’s Peartini. Because it’s important to get travel souvenirs and buy local (this is credible, right?), I bought a bottle of Spicy Ginger Cello made by Loft, a Portland distillery. I also lucked into a sale – can you imagine, Washingtonians, a liquor store having sales? – on a huge bottle of absinthe. I’d say it will last me years, but realistically…

Saturday, 2nd + rounds – where the gluttony starts

Tapas at Andina: Mussels with salsa criolla.

I’d like to make up a love song to this night’s restaurant, as long as someone else sings it in public (my daughter at 12 months old told me she didn’t like my singing…harsh).  Andina in the Pearl District is the whole package:  truly fresh and innovative Peruvian tapas, entrees and cocktails in a bright setting with a great vibe.  Rude as it is to talk with our mouths full, it was hard to stop commenting on how tasty everything was.

Andina's Sacsayhuamán (sok - say - hoo m-uhn) cocktail is both sassy and sexy...and too good to last long.

Andina also solidified hot peppers as one of our favorite cocktail ingredients with the Sacsayhuamán drink:  Habanero-infused vodka with passion fruit puree and sugar, served up with a cilantro leaf garnish. Pre-Incan ruins in Peru, Sacsayhuamán is pronounced much like “sexy woman,” giving us another reason to love it. And it gave us another goal: trying out all the pepper-punched cocktails we can.

Saturday, rounds #3….wait, no, #4 or 5…or infinity

Our server at Andina pointed us a few blocks down to Vault Martini.  Between the laugh-out-loud menu, people watching and mouthwatering cocktails, this may be the most entertaining bar I’ve run across. Their cocktail selection includes the 7 deadly sins plus 118 more drinks. How to choose?!? My friends went straight for the Habanero Martini – those peppers again! – with house-infused pineapple-habanero vodka and lemon juice, but my first drink was too underwhelming to remember the name. The Chocolate Martini with vanilla vodka and crème de cacao, on the other hand, was definitely memorable. Apparently they also had beer, wine and food but I can’t personally verify that.

At this point, let me give a shout-out to Portland’s street car – serving drunken visitors in the downtown corridor every night. If only Seattle was so smart.

Sunday, 0 rounds

The Vault was so cool that we never made it to our intended destination at The Nine’s hotel bar the night before, so we headed there for brunch on Sunday morning. The Urban Farmer is located in this hip hotel’s center atrium and features a Bloody Mary bar, but no hair-of-the-dog for us. We scored a table with cowhide benches and soothed ourselves with a great breakfast, leaving room for our next stop at Voodoo Donuts near the Burnside Bridge. 

Wicked good doughnuts.

The bakery’s location was perfect since it appears tucked into a bar. Its slogan is “the magic is in the hole,” and while I can’t speak to that I can say you’ll find voodoo doll doughnuts, bacon maple bars and some more, er, risqué shapes.

After close to 48 hours of cocktail and food research, we boarded the train back to Seattle.  I will have to check if Amtrak offers frequent rider miles because I am already craving several of our meals/drinks there.  Hmm, Red Hook might run the Portland Marathon in October. Surely he’ll want a couple of martinis after running 26 miles?

Cheers, ICE

A toast to Portland...and Dee's fab pictures!