Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Curar la resaca: aka Hangover Cure

For those of you who have been following both of my blogs, you may remember that in my post last week I made an aside about Italian amari in a tequila bar, and this cocktail was one I had in mind.  Liqueurs and liquors are absolutely able to cross the regional lines of cuisine (such is one of the truly great aspects of globalization in commerce), but it's important to keep the spirit of your brand at the core of your creations when building a cocktail list.

This cocktail was created for the brunch menu of a tequila bar with Mexican cuisine.  I will be the first to admit that I'm one of those bartenders who love Fernet-Branca, and because of the growing popularity of amari I was determined to find a reason to carry it on this shelf.  Fernet-Branca is one of those post-dinner liqueurs that helps stimulate digestion, and the heavy mint overtones immediately brought it to mind as something to soothe a stomach still reeling from last night's festivities--a real "hair of the dog" concoction.  To anchor it to the concept of the bar, I used a reposado tequila for the base and xocolatl molé bitters for the balance, sweetened it with agave nectar syrup, and rounded it out with ruby grapefruit juice and the nausea-soothing properties of ginger ale.

Curar la Resaca
Glass:  Collins/Highball
Method:  Shake and Strain
Garnish:  Orange Twist
1oz Milagro Reposado tequila
.5oz Fernet-Branca
.5oz Agave syrup
.25oz Fresh ruby grapefruit juice
1 dash Bitter Truth Xocolatl Molé bitters
2 dashes Regan's Orange bitters
2oz Ginger Ale (I use Canada Dry or White Rock)
Shake all ingredients (yes...including the ginger ale) with ice and strain into
10-12oz Collins glass filled with ice.  Garnish with an orange twist.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Persephone's Descent

Happy holidays to all!  With the cold weather having set in, I thought it was time to share one of my newer recipes--perfect to curl up with next to a fire.  This is also a perfect use for that spiceberry dram I wrote about in a previous entry.  If you don't have the dram ready to go, any commercially available ones would work well enough--though there are a couple of adjustments I'd recommend.  If you are using The Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, I might recommend using a simple syrup made with dark brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and a few drops of vanilla extract. If you are using St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram you might want to shake in a few whole allspice berries and cloves, and cut the simple syrup to .25oz.

Now...onto the recipe, accompanied by a fantastic photo grid of me making the cocktail...courtesy of our social media coordinator at work.

Persephone's Descent
Glass: Large coupe
Method: Shake and Strain
Garnish: Flamed orange peel
1oz Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon
1oz Ruby Port
.5oz Spiceberry Dram
.5oz Simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
.25oz Fresh Orange juice
1 dash Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole bitters

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a large coupe.  Flame a freshly peeled piece of orange peel over the cocktail to add aromatics and spectacle.
The name for this cocktail is another one of my tributes to the gods and goddesses of classical Greece.  Persephone is the daughter of Demeter (goddess of the grain and harvest), and ultimately the queen of the Underworld. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades (the ruler of the Underworld) after Zeus (the ruler of the gods and goddesses) promised her for his bride. Her mother searched the world for her and fell into such despair searching that she neglected her duties and let the fields die. When Demeter finally found Persephone, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds in her time with Hades. Zeus ruled that since she had partaken of food in the Underworld that she must return for that many months every year to rule alongside Hades. Every year, upon her return to the Underworld, Demeter mourns and lets the earth die. When Persephone returns, Demeter rejoices and the fields flourish.  This is the story of the changing of the seasons in Greek mythology and the background of the name for this beautiful and lush fall/winter cocktail.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life in Tune

 If there's one thing I love doing, it's being challenged with new products.  Absolut recently released a new product called Tune, and it's Absolut vodka blended with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has been carbonated.  It's a little bit higher in alcohol than a wine, but not even as strong as a liqueur or cordial.  We held a release party back in August at Igby's downtown and then wanted to find a way to feature it for a Cocktail of the Month.  We also had bottles of Fruitlab's Jasmine left from a previous cocktail, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to deplete the stock.  What I came up with was the Life in Tune.  

A note on glassware:  When I was first working on this cocktail I tried it in a champagne flute.  The flavors were absolutely buried, and I was really unsure if I actually liked the drink.  Others insisted they really enjoyed it, and when we put it in the more open coupe-style glass the aroma and flavor exploded and the cocktail gained so many layers and so much complexity.  This really just goes to show how critical the right glassware can be for the success of a cocktail.

Life in Tune

 Glass:  Large Coupe
Method: Shake and Strain
Garnish:  Long orange spiral

.5 oz Fruitlab Jasmine liqueur
.25 oz PAMA Pomegranate liqueur
.25 oz Fresh Lime juice
.5 oz Simple syrup (1:1)
1 dash Fee Brothers Orange bitters 

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a large coupe. 
Top with 3oz Absolut Tune and garnish with a long orange spiral.

Also!: Earlier this summer, I was featured in one of our local publications!  I'm very pleased with the fantastic spread from CityBeat.  If you aren't a friend on Facebook and missed it when it was released back in August, here's the link to check it out: Local Mixologist Makes Waves in Cocktail Culture.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Queen City Paloma

I just realized this week that I never posted my Don Julio entry from March's competition!  The competition was "Local Legends," and asked for a local twist on a classic tequila cocktail.

Shortly before the competition was announced, a local chef on my Facebook had decided he wanted to make a local variation on an allspice dram with locally grown spiceberries.  I loved the idea so much, I jumped on the bandwagon myself.  I bought the spiceberries from Carriage House Farm, here in the greater Cincinnati area, and (majorly) adapted a recipe I found through Google.  I'd never made my own liqueur/cordial/dram/etc. before, so this was a great chance to learn something new and expand my skills.

The Spiceberry Dram

First, I knew from the get-go I wanted something more similar to St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram...which is very sweet, and very very good.  The recipe above called for light rum, but I knew that wouldn't ultimately give me what I was going for, so I used Cruzan's Blackstrap rum for my base, to take advantage of the sweetness and richness of the molasses used.

1 cup Cruzan Blackstrap rum
1/4 cup Local Spiceberries or Allspice berries (ground; a good mortar and pestle is essential for infusions)

1/8 cup Whole Clove (ground) 
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole Nutmeg (ground)
1 Vanilla bean

Infuse the spiceberries in the rum for 5-7 days.  Add remaining ingredients and infuse for another 10-12 days. Strain solids from infusion (I use a large strainer and cheesecloth for an initial strain, and the large strainer and coffee filters for a more fine strain). Dissolve 2/3 cup brown sugar (I've used light previously, but dark would probably complement the blackstrap well) with 1.5 cups water in a sauce pan. Let cool and add to infusion. Let settle for two days before use.  Sediment will settle on the bottom of the bottle over time, so be sure to shake a bit before use to reintegrate.

Queen City Paloma

 Glass:  Highball/Collins glass
Method:  Build and Box
Garnish:  Grapefruit wedge

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco
1.25 oz Spiceberry dram
1 oz Fresh grapefruit juice 
.5 oz Fresh lime juice 
Pinch Kosher salt 
1.5 oz Club soda

Build ingredients with ice and box between mixing glass and tin three times
to incorporate all ingredients. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge dipped
in a mix of sea salt, ground clove, and ground ancho chile.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

MxMo LXXII: Drink Your Veggies

Hello again!  Long time no see (again).  I'm in the midst of a new bar opening, so I've been quite on the "not around" side of things.  The new bar opening, however, is the perfect excuse to participate in this month's Mixology MondayDrink Your Veggies!  As Rowan at Fogged in Lounge described, "Want to get more vegetables but you’re always eating on the run? Maybe you hate vegetables but feel you should get more of them? Well then, how about a vegetable cocktail?

This recipe comes straight from the new place: Barrio Tequileria in the Northside area of Cincinnati.  Come in and let me and my (really incredibly awesome) bartenders feed you tequila and tacos and sangrita!  Okay...end advertising *grins*

Sangrita is a traditional sipper alongside tequila.  I think the best ones are a little bit sweet, a little bit savory, and a little bit spicy.  I've found some sources that say "traditional" sangrita doesn't use tomato juice, but I've also read about bars in Mexico that do use tomato juice in theirs, so...I just followed my own instincts for this recipe.  I know that tomatoes and peppers are really officially fruits, but we do typically consider them vegetables, so...details details, right?

Sampling sangritas before our opening; el Arco Blanco tequila featured

Barrio Tequileria's Housemade Sangrita

1/4 cup Cilantro
1 cup Tomato juice
1/4 cup Orange juice
1/4 cup Lime juice
2 T Pomegranate grenadine
2 T Goya Chipotle Salsita
1/4 tsp Powdered ancho
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 Serrano pepper, sliced (including seeds)

Personally, I put the cilantro in first, then add the tomato juice and muddle the cilantro a little bit.  I add the pepper last, and let it infuse for about five minutes (just for a little extra heat--I like my sangrita a touch on the spicy side) before I strain everything out.  Pour a shot of the sangrita and a shot of blanco tequila, and enjoy!

I use fresh juices and a standard recipe for my grenadine (1:1 POM juice and sugar).  I like to think I did a pretty decent job with it, and just the other day a lady from Mexico complimented me on how authentic my sangrita was, and asked where I got the recipe, so...hooray :-D      

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

La boda perfecta

I've always liked the idea of dessert drinks, but I've always felt that the typical vodka "chocolate martini" was too easy.  This isn't the first time I've tried to expand on the formula (see: Lady Godiva's Stand).  I've also always liked the idea of showpieces and talking points.  For ages I've wanted to do a cocktail with really high-end ingredients, and I was thrilled to finally have the chance with the new bar I'm managing for.  The new bar is tequila-centric, so I'm learning quite a lot of new things, and loving the chance to expand my knowledge base.  

The inspirations behind this cocktail were multiple.  First, the 70th anniversary expression from Don Julio has some really nice notes of chocolate in it; second, Anejo tequilas are often compared to aged brandies and Cognacs:  all are wonderful for after-dinner sipping and tend to have some similar flavor profiles.  The price tag on this cocktail is more than double my other listings on our menu, but with about $200 worth of bottles of liquor used in the cocktail it's quite a wonderful opportunity to try something new.  I hear so many people talk about what a crime it is to use really fine ingredients to mix with others in cocktails, but I feel just the opposite:  truly wonderful ingredients can create an absolutely transcendental cocktail experience...and that's something I tried to convey with this one.

La boda perfecta

 Glass:  Brandy snifter
Method: Shake and Strain
Garnish:  Mexican chocolate and cinnamon

1.25 oz Don Julio 70 Anejo Claro
.75 oz Grand Marnier Cuvee du Centenaire
.5 oz Godiva dark chocolate liqueur
1 generous dash Bitter Truth's Xocolatl Mole bitters
.25 oz Rich simple syrup
2 oz Heavy cream 

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a brandy snifter. 
Garnish with a light grating of Mexican chocolate and cinnamon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Endless Summer (a.k.a) MxMo LXVI: Bein' Green

Oh...hey there, everyone!  It's been a little while, hasn't it?  I've been off having all sorts of incredible adventures this summer.  We had dinner at Alinea in Chicago for my 30th birthday, I went to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, I went on a trip with the S. Ohio USBG to some stops along the Bourbon Trail, we went to a family wedding that ended up in (started out with?) a little trip onto Wrigley Field:

...well...you get the idea.  Basically, I spent all my spare income this summer drinking cocktails rather than concocting them, so I've been a little off the radar.  I'd say I'm sorry, but...just look at that photo!   I figured the October Mixology Monday, hosted by Ed over at Wordsmithing Pantagruel would be a perfect time to jump back in the game.  In his own words

With the warm days of summer now fading off into the distance in our rear view mirrors, let's pay one last tribute to the greens of summer before the frosts come and our outdoor herb gardens give up the ghost for the winter. [...] Limes are green. So is green tea. Don't forget the herb garden: mint, basil, cilantro, you name it - all fair game. There's also the veritable cornucopia from the farmers market: green apples, grapes, peppers, olives, celery, cucumbers...you get the idea. Like I said, wide berth. Base, mixer, and or garnish; if it's green it's good. Surprise me. Use at least one, but the more the merrier. 

When I read that, I was a little disappointed I had already posted my Bombay Sapphire cocktail, The Garden Path (cilantro, red bell pepper, pineapple...perfect!), but then I realized I hadn't yet posted my finalized recipe for another, previously unnamed, summer cocktail...so...here we go!

 Endless Summer

Glass:  Large Cocktail
Method: Muddle, Shake and Strain
Garnish:  Cucumber and Watermelon pick

6 cubes Fresh Watermelon
3 leaves Fresh Basil
1 tsp Balsamic syrup

2 oz Effen Cucumber vodka
.5 oz Fresh Lime juice
.5 oz Rich Simple syrup 

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a large cocktail glass. 
Garnish with a light sprinkling of freshly cracked sea salt.

P.S.  My husband has also decided this summer that Effen Cucumber and Pimm's is a tasty combination.  Maybe something to play with later...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender Entry

Every year, GQ and Bombay Sapphire team up for the annual Most Inspired Bartender competition.  This year, there were two events in Ohio--one in Cleveland and one in Columbus.  I competed in Columbus, at the Franklin Botanical Center, and had a fantastic time!  I didn't win, but had an amazing amount of positive feedback from the attendees ("I've had at least three people tell me I had to come outside and try the one with red pepper!" and "Yours was definitely the best one in there!" and "One of the bartenders over there told me I needed to come try this one," and even an "I'm so glad that yours is the last one I've tried and that I have in my mouth right now."), so I consider the night a tremendous success. Even more-so of a success for those that were unsure that they actually wanted to try it ("Cilantro?  Really?"), had a friend convince them to, and then went back for a second sample.

I really wanted to play off the rich, peppery notes from the Grains of Paradise (one of the botanicals present in Sapphire), and the citrus notes from the lemon peel (also a botanical).  Bombay Sapphire is a very intense gin, and I wanted intense flavor profiles to match and balance.  I'm very pleased with the final result.  

As for the name, I chose to reference "garden path" sentences.  The mind processes and develops visuals one word at a time.  In garden path sentences, the structure leads you start constructing one meaning of the sentence, and then a word comes along that forces you to reconfigure the meaning.  This cocktail, prior to being named, had many people say just those sorts of things about it.  We eat and drink with our eyes first, our nose second, and our mouths third.  On first glance, you see a pink drink in a "martini" glass.  Next, you see pineapple and red pepper in the garnish.  As you go to drink you smell the aromatic cilantro.  Once you drink, all of those elements come together into something unexpected and lovely.

The Garden Path

Glass: Medium Cocktail
Method: Muddle, Shake and Fine Strain
Garnish: Pineapple, Red pepper, Cilantro

1 large cube Fresh Pineapple
5 large pieces Red Bell Pepper
.5 oz Madhava Light Agave Nectar

10 leaves Fresh Cilantro
.25 oz Fresh Lime juice
1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire 

Make sure to muddle the red pepper very well to get maximum flavor (we're not worried about bruising or breaking mint here, guys!).  Shake ingredients well with ice. Double-strain into a medium-sized cocktail glass (around 6oz) and garnish.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cincinnati Area Bartenders' Guild Meetup/Informational

Just wanted to take a minute to post about the informal meetup/informational the Cincinnati area of the United States Bartenders' Guild is going to be hosting on June 4th at Milton's, from 4p-6p.  

Stop by for a few drinks and to learn more about how you can be a part of the great things we want to do!  More information below on our blog:


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Glass Project: The Burning Heart

The recent Drambuie contest got me working with Drambuie for my first time, and as this drink has some heat to it I started thinking of names that invoked that.  Dante's Inferno came to mind, which led to thoughts of La Vita Nuova, and thus Il Cuore Ardente (The Burning Heart) was born.

Il Cuore Ardente (aka The Burning Heart)
Glass: Small Cocktail
Method: Stir and Fine Strain
Garnish:  Flamed orange twist

1 oz Appleton Estate Reserve rum
.75 oz Drambuie
3 heavy dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters
1/8 tsp Ground Red Cayenne Pepper

Build ingredients in glass with ice and stir well to incorporate the cayenne pepper.  Strain depending on heat preference (normal strain for higher heat, fine/double strain for lower heat).  Garnish with a flamed orange twist and enjoy!