Aug 23

Orange Overload Cocktail

Orange Overload Cocktail

Do you like orange drinks?  If so, stand by for a real overload of orange!  This cocktail seems to violate the choose a base spirit rule at first.  However, if you think about all of the orange liqueurs together as a base spirit, it all starts to make sense.  I was amazed with the sweet and sour effect of the combination. The taste buds really don’t know what to make of this one!

Orange Overload Cocktail

3 oz Tang (mixed according to label)

2 oz Orange Juice

1/2 oz Cointreau

1/2 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz Campari Bitter Orange

1/2 oz Vodka (Grey Goose)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously with ice.  Serve up in a cocktail glass.

Discussion:

Was that orangey enough for you?  This drink is one of my favorite inventions.  The choice of vodka definitely makes a difference.  Use one with a mineral water taste.  Also, use a quality OJ like Tropicana, Florida’s Natural or fresh squeezed.  If you are morally opposed to using Tang in a cocktail, try substituting freshly squeezed tangerines.

Aug 23

Sweet Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey

Ah, the Gin Rickey.  Often confused with it’s cousin Tom Collins, Rickey uses lime for a cool, refreshing taste.  Here’s my version.  Try one while the Summer heat (or Winter cool) lasts in your area!

Sweet Gin Rickey

1 1/2 oz (45 ml) London Dry Gin

1 oz (30 ml) Simple Syrup (1:1)

3/4 oz (22 ml) Fresh Lime Juice

5 oz (150 ml) Seltzer Water (adjust to taste)

 

Directions:

Shake all ingredients (except seltzer) with ice.  Pour over fresh ice in a tall Collins glass.  Add seltzer to fill the glass.  Garnish with lime.

Discussion:

Let me know if you like this one or if you have a better version!

Aug 11

Blood and Sand Revisited

Blood and Sand Revisited Cocktail

Blood and Sand Revisited Cocktail

The Blood and Sand Cocktail dates back to the 1920s.  It was named after the movie Blood and Sand starring Rudolph Valentino.  Many versions are possible, and there’s some dispute as to the original recipe.  In fact, the first known publishing of the recipe occurred in 1930 in the Savoy Cocktail Book (according to Wikipedia).

Based on my research, the Blood And Sand Original goes something like this…

 

 

Blood And Sand (1922 Version)

The Blood

3/4 Ounce Sweet Red Vermouth

3/4 Ounce Cherry Brandy (I’m guessing Hiram Walker)

The Sand

1 Ounce Blended Scotch (probably Dewar’s)

1 Ounce Orange Juice (possibly using Blood Oranges)

Directions

The blood and sand are shaken well with ice.  The cocktail is either served up in a coupe glass or possibly over ice in a rocks or Manhattan glass.  Flame a zest of orange over the glass (if you have a fire permit).

Discussion

While this version tastes OK, it’s a bit smokey and the drink’s color is strange.  It looks a little like – well – bloody sand!  Rather than start a range war about what was really in the classic Blood and Sand Cocktail, let’s move on to modern versions!

Blood And Sand Revisited (My Version)

The Blood

1 Ounce Lillet Rouge Aperitif

1 Ounce Cherry Heering (or your favorite Cherry Wishniak)

The Sand

1 Ounce Jack Daniels Whiskey

1 Ounce Orange Juice (Tropicana, Florida’s Natural or fresh)

Directions

The blood and sand are shaken well with ice.  The cocktail is either served up in a coupe glass or possibly over ice in a rocks or Manhattan glass.

Discussion:

This version is my undisputed favorite so far.  Some may find it too sweet or complain that Jack overpowers the taste profile.  In that case, try adjusting the amounts.  There are many more variations in the works – so stay tuned!

 

Aug 11

Crème Yvette Spritzer

According to Wikipedia, a Spritzer is a … a … uhh, well, nobody knows exactly what a spritzer is for sure!  About the only consensus is that it contains carbonated water and some type of alcoholic spirit.  We could spend all day debating this, or we could cut to the chase and make an awesome new drink.  YES!  Let’s do that!

Crème Yvette

Crème Yvette

Crème Yvette  is a unique liquor that disappeared from the marketplace around 1969.  Fortunately for us, it made its triumphant return in 2010.  Since then, Crème Yvette has been spreading across the US starting from East and West Coasts.

The taste is quite unique since it contains berry mash, violet petals, honey and a touch of orange peel.  Read about the taste and history at the Crème Yvette Web Site.

The strange thing about recipes that include this liquor is how little Yvette they use.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Aviation Cocktail:  1/4 oz
Blue Moon: 1/2 oz
The Stratosphere: 1/4 oz
The Perpetual: 4 dashes
Pousse-café: Thin layer among other liquors

Perhaps Yvette was a tough lass to find even in the good old days!  I propose to use a generous amount to make a surprisingly well-balanced drink…

The Creme Yvette Spritzer

Crème Yvette Spritzer

Crème Yvette Spritzer

1 1/2 oz Crème Yvette

1/4 oz Cointreau

1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Soda Water (Seltzer) to fill a tall glass.

Directions:

Add all ingredients (except seltzer) to a tall glass.  Add ice and stir.  Once chilled, slowly stir in the seltzer water.  Garnish with a berry if available.  Alternately, the ingredients could be shaken with ice, poured over fresh ice and then seltzer added. This approach tends to emulsify the fruit juice – even though there’s only 1/4 ounce used.

Discussion:

This drink is very refreshing, subtle and showcases the Crème Yvette well.  I think you’ll agree that there’s no reason to force in 2 ounces of Gin or other liquor.  Everyone knows how to make Gin drinks – but sometimes we just need some quality time with Yvette!

Aug 11

Bloodless Mary Mocktail

Ah, mocktails.  Those non-alcoholic cocktails that can be tasty – but always seem to be missing something. It occurs to me that a properly mixed and seasoned drink can greatly enhance the experience without resorting to sneaking a bunch of vodka into the mix.

I propose to try this approach with a Bloody Mary.  To that end, let’s use some bitters and other ingredients to add some zing.  (Note that bitters use alcohol to carry the flavors, but we will only be using a few drops.  If you are a purist, you may wish to use seasonings from your spice cabinet instead of bitters.)  Without further ado…

The Bloodless Mary

Bloodless Mary Mocktail

Bloodless Mary Mocktail

5.5 oz Tomato Juice

1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Dash Pepper

Dash Salt

Dash (3-4 drops) Tobasco Sauce

1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Dash Celery Bitters

Dash Angostura Bitters

Dash Fee Brothers Original Bitters

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a tall glass.  Add a generous amount of ice (if desired).  Garnish with celery if available.

Discussion:

This mocktail is refreshing and zesty.  It’s also very satisfying since tomato juice tends to be filling.  Feel free to adjust the spices and bitters to your own personal taste.

 

Jul 26

Stella Artois Premium Lager Beer

Stella Artois

Stella Artois

Name: Stella Artois Premium Lager Beer

Country: Belgium

Brewer: Stella Artois Brewery, Leuven, Belgium

Type: Lager Beer

ABV: 5.2% (USA)

Packaging: Green glass bottle

Bottle Info: Belgium’s Original – Over 600 Years of brewing experience.

 

First Impressions:

The nose is slightly sweet and fruity.  The pour creates a moderate head.  The initial taste is best described as middle-of-the-road.

Mid-Drink:

There is very little in the way of a definitive hops or malt taste.  I can’t resist saying that this is a beer that would never offend anybody.  It’s an easy drinker  to an extreme.

After Word:

I can’t say that this is my favorite beer.  However, it is so inoffensive that I would never refuse one if offered. Certainly, there is no hint of “malt beverage” taste.  It’s simply a beer that aims not to shock or assault your taste buds.

Who Should Try:

This beer might be a good introduction to lager for those who aren’t 100% sure that they like beer.  For the rest of us, it’s simply another choice for smooth, easy drinking.

[important]Cocktail and Beer’s 0-10 Ratings:

Malt: 5

Hops: 5

Bitter: 3

Acidic: 3

Carbonation: 6

Easy Drinker: 9

Beerness:  6

Overall: 6

Recommended: Yes

[/important]

Jul 21

Original Sin Hard Cider

Original Sin Hard Cider

Original Sin Hard Cider

Name: Original Sin Hard Cider

Country: USA

Brewer: Original Sin Corp, NY.  Bottled by Indian River Brewing Co, FL

Type: Hard Cider

ABV: 6%

Packaging: Brown glass bottle

Bottle Info: (As above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions:

Sweet, yeasty nose.  Nice, smooth cider taste.

Mid-Drink:

No trace of oak barrel.  No “cooler” malt taste.  Definitely an easy drinker.

After Word:

This beverage delivers clean cider taste. No resemblance to beer whatsoever.  Might even be worth the trip outside The Garden!

Who Should Try:

Those who like a smooth, easy drinker with no cloying sweetness.

[important]Cocktail and Beer′s 0-10 Ratings:

Malt: 0

Oak: 0

Bitter: 3

Acidic: 4

Carbonation: 6

Easy Drinker: 7

Ciderness: 7

Overall: 7

Recommended: Yes

[/important]

Jul 21

Jever Original Friesland Pilsener Review

Jever Lager

Jever Lager

Name: Jever Original Friesland Pilsener

Brewer: Dortmunder Brau & Brunnen Group (Oetker Group)

Country: Germany

Importer (US): Raven Import Co.

Type: Pilsener

ABV: 4.9%

Packaging: Green glass bottle

Bottle Info: Jever Original Friesland Pilsener, Premium Lager Beer, Product of Germany, Since 1848

 

 

 

 

First Impressions:

Bitter, but not in an annoying way.  Subtle hops taste with little malt.  Good nose.  Slightly challenging to the American palate.

Mid-Drink:

Bitter aftertaste lasts and lasts.  Hops forward, but tough to nail down the taste profile.

After Word:

Leaves no doubt it’s a German beer.  Interesting enough that I will want to try it again.

Who Should Try:

Anyone who can stand some bitterness and a beer with some backbone.

[important]Cocktail and Beer’s 0-10 Ratings:

Malt: 4

Hops: 7

Bitter: 6

Acidic: 7

Easy Drinker: 6

Beerness: 8

Overall: 7

Recommended:Yes [/important]

Jul 20

Cocktails and Beer 0-10 Ratings Explained

Here is my current thinking about the 0-10 ratings:

Malt:  How much malt taste.  0=Very little, 10=Pure malty overload.

Hops: 0=No hops at all, 10=Extremely hops forward or distinctive.

Bitter: 0=Sickly sweet, 10=Painfully bitter.

Acidic: Without using a pH meter, how acid or basic is the brew.  0=Acid, 10=Basic.

Carbonation: 0=Flat out of the container, 10=Explodes into an insane head.

Easy Drinker: 0=Totally undrinkable, 10=Goes down as easily as water.

Beerness:  0=Sweet, malty wine cooler, 10=Real beer with character.

Overall:  How will I remember this beer: 0=Never ever again or 10=More, NOW!