Friday, March 29, 2013

Jersey Girl

As you know (or may not) from my Italian Inspired, Washington Made post a while back, I have a Fernet style amaro that was produced by broVo Spirits here in Seattle.  There were also 6 other bartenders that participated in the project as well.  As such, it makes sense to showcase their amari and how to use them in a cocktail.  One of my personal favorite ones is broVo Amaro #4 crafted by Patrick Haight, who is currently the Food & Beverage Director for Snoqualmie Casino, boasts a lovely eucalyptus, hibiscus, rose geranium and citrus notes with a bit of fiery kick from some African cayenne pepper.  Think of it as St. Germain but with a bit of citrus and spice. 

Patrick's amaro is a great liqueur, especially because its flavor profile is pleasant to mix with, and can be used with a wide range of cocktail styles and ingredients.  For me, I thought it would be perfect with some Applejack and lemon and I decided to use those flavors as a template.  I've had some cocktails that featured Aperol when using a spicy component and it seemed appropriate here as well.  If you don't know, Laird's is one of the oldest distilleries in the United States and hales from New Jersey.  They also make a fantastic bonded apple brandy for those whom want a more serious and traditional Calvados style spirit.  I can't wait to try a few more experiments with this wonderful amaro from a great industry person, and an all around great guy.  Cheers Patrick!

Jersey Girl
1 1/2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz broVo Amaro #4 (by Patrick Haight)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Pineapple Gum Syrup
Apple Fan for Garnish

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish and enjoy.

Color:  Light orange and reddish tones
Flavor:  Apple, spiced floral notes, lemon and sweetened pineapple
Texture:  Smooth and light

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rising Sun

While sipping on a classic Japanese Cocktail the other night, I pondered about the fact that there wasn't one thing related to its namesake I could think of.  Sure, its designation most likely stemmed from its creation back around 1850 when the first Japanese delegation came to the United States, specifically New York, and one of the delegates,  Tateishi Onojirou Noriyuki, was to said to of been quite the imbiber and playboy.  Jerry Thomas had one of the most popular spots in New York at that time and when he published his 1862 The Bon-Vivant's Companion, that specific cocktail was mentioned.  Whether there is an actual connection between the Japanese delegation is up in the air, but as I stated before, nothing really Japanese about it.

Pondering on this quandary I set out to create a variation of this classic, but as I started to mix ingredients and get a solid recipe together I noticed that it went from resembling the Japanese Cocktail to a more like a New York Sour.  Really, the New York Sour gets its personality from the lovely float of a dry, red wine.  The classic sour started to get all fancied up with a careful float of red wine around the 1880's and we now see its revival on many cocktail menus abound.  Sure, the combination of sugar, whiskey and lemon juice is delicious, but fairly safe. 

For me, I wanted to use common ingredients found in Japanese culture.  Lychee, whiskey, passion fruit; all things that are used in a lot in Asian, especially, Japanese cuisine and beverages.  I used some mole bitters to balance out the sweet lychee and tart passion fruit.  The way the spice and cocoa intermingle with the other ingredients made for an interesting note in the finish.  A small note of using passion fruit; it can be very hard to find "real" passion fruit juice in most markets.  Read the labels carefully as many use lots of water and sugar.  Fresh passion fruit juice is tart and slightly bitter.  I recommend juicing your own or using a concentrate and diluting with water to get juice.  Turned out pretty well if I do say so, and there is something distinctly Japanese about it, if I do say so myself.  Cheers.

Rising Sun
2 oz Japanese Whiskey (I used Suntory brand)
1/4 oz Lychee Liqueur
1 oz Passion Fruit Juice
2 tsp Superfine Sugar
2 dashes Bittermans Mole Bitters
1/2 oz Pinot Noir Float
Lychee Fruit for Garnish

Shake everything but wine with ice.  Strain into an Old Fashioned Glass with large ice cubes.  Float wine on top.  Garnish and enjoy.

Color:  Golden yellow with a burgundy float
Flavor:  Smooth, slightly spiced whiskey, sweet lychee, tart passion fruit, spice, mild sugar
Texture:  Smooth and light, dry finish

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Maten Kafe Flip

While Mixology Monday is over for me, and I had a blast hosting this months theme, it's time to move on to other crafty concoctions.  But, I really feel like all the submitted cocktails are going to stay with me for a while, helping to bring influence and inspiration abound.  After all, my style is really classically inspired contemporary cocktails so it only makes sense you'll continue to see these types of influences and flavors.  JFL from Rated R Cocktails implanted a thought in my head; that thought being coffee.  I did a blurb about coffee a while back on Coffee House Cravings, one of my first posts in fact, for which I declared my love for coffee.  I pretty much consume at least one or two cups of Joe a day.  And, he's right, coffee does make for an interesting and flavorful addition to cocktails.

I purchased a bottle of Deco Coffee rum a few weeks ago and I've already been playing around with this wonderful rum produced in Oregon and infused with actual local coffee grounds.  Deco recently changed their name to Below Deck but they are still producing their local spirits with the same care and recipes.  It's rare to see locally made rums, in any state for that fact, but this one is definitely worth a look.  While JFL made a wonderful coffee laden daiquiri, I decided to tackle a deeply rich and flavorful flip cocktail.  I started thinking about a Café Brûlot but wanted a complex and rich taste to help balance out the orange and intense coffee flavors. I also opted for a complex toasted citrus Haitian rum to work with the bitter coffee.  A few dashes of spice & mole bitters, an orange amaro, some almond and sugar and you have a delicious morning tipple.  Thanks for the inspiration JFL.  Cheers.

Maten Kafe Flip
1 oz Deco Coffee Rum
1 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Haitian Rum
1/2 oz Averna Amaro
3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1 tsp Orgeat
1 tsp Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Bittermans Mole Bitters
1 Egg White

Dry shake without ice for 20 seconds.  Add ice, shake hard for 20 more seconds.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Enjoy.  (Note:  Maten Kafe is Haitian Creole for "Morning Coffee")

Color:  Medium, cloudy coffee brown, with orange hue
Flavor:  Strong coffee, toasted citrus and bitter orange, faint almond & sugarcane
Texture:  Smooth, lightly velvet with medium body

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MxMo LXXI Roundup

Thanks to everyone that participated in this month's theme, From Crass to Craft, as well as Fred Yarm for doing a great job running Mixology Monday.  I hope everyone was able to get a little bit more perspective on how and what we consider "craft", and perhaps even gained a little respect for some ingredients we initially sneer at.  I'm sure a few of us, if not all, had a part of us die a little inside while measuring out that bottle of Buttershots, cheap schnapps or artificially flavored vodka.  Sure, some things no matter how you mix them will never be considered craft (yes glazed donut vodka, I'm speaking of you...), but to me, a true mixologist "crafts" a cocktail based on flavor profiles and how ingredients will play off one another to create something harmonious and tailored to the imbiber.  Also, making homemade infusions, liqueurs and reinventing ingredients is what being a craft mixologist is all about.

Perhaps you've been inspired on a few new cocktails for that herbaceous and anise laden bottle of Galliano?  Or, maybe Fred helped shed some light on how Jagermeister was originally intended to be imbibed and not just what all the shotty marketing and college students have done to sully its name? I think most of us, especially those whom work in the beverage industry, started our intro into this wondrous cocktail world using and/or consuming what most of us consider to be low brow ingredients now days.  And, hey, I had a lot of fun experimenting and it brought back some fond (and not so fond) memories.  Well, without further adu, here are this month's entries.  Cheers!

Cocktail author and blogger Kevin Liu from Craft Cocktails at Home created The Craft Strawberry Daiquiri which featured rum, strawberry preserves, orange flower water. These subtle variations elevate a classic cocktail, and with no blender in sight.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Vodka Dilemma: MxMo LXXI

For my next post I will delve into the not so fabulous world of vodka.  Sure it's still one of the most consumed spirits in the world, especially in the United States in which it accounts for about a third of total spirit sales.  However, most craft bars and enthusiasts have steered away from vodka, and many top bars either only have a few choices, especially void of premium and ultra premium brands, or have completely done away with their vodka programs in general.  Since vodka is by definition a flavorless alcohol distillate derived primarily from grains, potatoes or sugary fruits, a "quality" vodka is graded by most people based on how smooth it finishes versus

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Daisy if You Do: MxMo LXXI

There are so many ways for me to kick start my ambitious theme.  I thought about vodka, since it's a no brainer ingredient that is frowned upon the mixology universe.  Hmm, I have something in mind but I think I'll leave that one alone for right now.  No.  I want to come at this from another angle.  Let's take an ingredient that I think is craft but may not get the attention that it deserves.  The ingredient I am referring to is hum liqueur. 

Hum is the brain child of mixologists Adam Seger and Joe McCanta in which they take pot still rhum and cold macerate with with hibiscus, cardamon, ginger and kaffir lime.  Unlike most other liqueurs,

Friday, March 1, 2013

MxMo LXXI Announcement: From Crass to Craft

Over the the last 7 years Mixology Monday has seen some amazing themes and cocktails come from the minds of great mixologists and enthusiasts, which has become a true testament to the cocktail revival.  But, with all the knowledge, skill and retraction back to the basics and the essence of the cocktail, I feel we have allowed ourselves to perhaps become too judgmental, and dare I say, arrogant, my self included.  Since I run the beverage program at a popular seafood restaurant in Seattle, I have requests for cocktails all across the board.  Americanos, Appletinis, Cosmopolitans, Pisco Sours; I make them all.  With these thoughts in mind here is this months theme:

"The evolution of the cocktail has been a wondrous, and sometimes, frightful journey.  From its humble beginning, to the "Dark Ages" of most of the later 20th century, to the now herald "Platinum
Age" of the cocktail,  master mixologists and enthusiasts alike have elevated its grandeur using the best skills, freshest ingredients and craft spirits & liqueurs available.  But with all this focus on