Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whole Grain Mixology: Ginger-Mint Syrup



3 oz. Citadelle Reserve
.75 oz. ginger-mint syrup*
.5 oz. lime juice
1 Dash Angostura bitters

Shake everything with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with thin pear slice. (If you want to get fancy, cut it in the shape of a crown).

A while back I did a post entitled Whole Grain Mixology wherein I talked about how fun it is to make your own drink ingredients. I still think it's fun, and even more so when you go off-book and experiment with your own ideas.

I can't recall exactly what prompted it, but at some point I had a notion that mint and ginger might work well together, so I grabbed 'em both and took a stab at making a syrup. I thought the results weren't half bad, so the next step was finding a spirit to hitch it to.

I figured gin would be a good starting point. I had a small amount of Citadelle Reserve that seemed to be urging me from its spot on the shelf to pick it up and put it in the shaker (much like the One Ring exerted a pull on Frodo, enticing him to use it,** certain liquors will do likewise to a cocktail enthusiast). A healthy splash of lime juice and a dose of Ango sewed things up nicely, so I decided this was one worth writing down. Chalk up another one for making ingredients from scratch.

Next time: Bulgur wheat bitters!

*to make ginger-mint syrup: Get a decent-sized piece of fresh ginger. A good piece of ginger should be somewhat heavy and feel hard to the touch (if it the skin looks wrinkly or shriveled and feels squishy, keep looking). Cut off a hunk a little bigger than your thumb , peel it, and cut it julienne style.

Toss your ginger sticks into a saucepan with 1.5 cups sugar and 1 cup water over medium heat. Stir continuously until sugar is completely dissolved, and remove from heat. Take 5 or 6 large fresh mint leaves and gently roll them between your hands to release the minty goodness. Toss 'em into the ginger syrup, cover the pan, and let it sit for about 2 hours. Strain into the container of your choice (I like Berentzen Apfelkorn bottles because they're skinny and don't take up much space in my fridge) and refrigerate.

** Yeah, I made a Tolkien reference to illustrate part of the cocktail-making process. Don't act like you haven't seen things far geekier than this.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Moonlighting: March '10


If you're wondering why mailboxes everywhere are giddy with anticipation, it's because the new issue of Bachelor Pad Magazine is here! In this issue I unearth a classic cocktail and use it as a flimsy excuse to draw a pagan god brandishing barware...


Even divine beings need a cocktail from time to time.

And if those aren't enough booze-themed words & pictures for you, I encourage you to swing over to and find answers to pressing questions such as...


WHY is a there a tiki in a cannon?


WHO gave an ice cube a crown and scepter?


WHERE can apples and sloe berries conduct a torrid affair?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



Dragonfire Cocktail

2 oz. Jalapeno-infused tequila or vodka
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
1 lime wedge, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, triple sec, orange juice, and lime juice, plus ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with lime wedge (or jalapeno round).

(To make jalapeno-infused tequila: add 1 jalapeno to 2 cups tequila. Allow to infuse for at least 2 hours. Remove jalapeno.)

The above recipe comes from Kara Newman's book Spice & Ice. Kara invited several food and drink enthusiasts (including me) to participate in a "virtual cocktail party" wherein we select a recipe from S&I, make it, and then do a post on it. Being that she has a keen understanding of the cocktail geek mindset, Kara encouraged the participants to tweak, alter and otherwise fiddle with the recipes if we were inclined to do so.

Since I am often inclined to do so (I'm a born tinkerer it seems), the first change I made was to swap in some Sriracha for the jalapeno. Documenting my love for Sriracha would require an entire post of its own, but for now I'll just say that this delicious, versatile chili-garlic sauce is one of my favorite condiments and I always have a bottle handy. It has legions of fans and its status as a cult item is coming to an end with many chefs and cocktail crafters discovering it (which can only be a good thing, in my opinion).

The other changes I made were to substitute Cointreau for the triple sec and add a half-ounce of Aperol to bring a little bright & bitter to the proceedings. Aperol is an ingredient I love to find uses for, since it's flavor isn't as overbearing as Campari, a similar product that I also like, but find more challenging to mix with.

What I ended up with is shown below. You can drink it anytime, but given the provenance of its ingredients, it's probably best enjoyed while watching a Fellini movie. In a Asian restaurant. With Salma Hayek*

Drago Amaro

2 oz. silver Tequila (I used Tequila Ocho plata)
1 oz. Cointreau
.5 oz. Aperol
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lime juice
8 drops Sriracha chili sauce

Combine everything with ice in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with a lime slice skewered to a small chili pepper.

To check out the other drinks as they roll in and get more info on Spice & Ice, go here.

And if you wanna check out a couple of other drinks that use Sriracha, take a peek at these tasty beverages over at Rumdood and Cocktailbuzz

* I realize that since she shills for Campari, she'd probably complain about using Aperol, but this is my fantasy, so cut me a little slack, wouldja?