Monday, July 17, 2006

Fireman's Sour (and the search for brandied cherries)

Da-amn, it's hot. As far as I can tell, it's hot everywhere in this country currently, as all my east coast friends are blogging about their melting as well.

Time to put out this fire with a Fireman's Sour.

Now, any recipe that has 2 oz of lime juice has my attention. That's a lot of lime juice. I know from past experience that a drink that is half pure lime is going to give me stomach problems, so I added a good amount of the "optional" soda, and then only drank half the drink anyway. The name isn't lying about the sour.

2 oz lime juice
.5 tsp simple syrup
.5 tsp Grenadine (homemade)
2 oz light rum (Bacardi silver)
Club soda (optional)
Shake juice, sugar, grenadine and rum with ice and pour into a sour glass. Fill with soda if desired, and garnish with a half slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry.

I should mention at this point that I have been stymied by the search for brandied cherries. I bought some lovely bing cherries from a roadside truck with the intent of making them into maraschino substitutes. (I'd had a manhattan with brandied cherries at Hawthorne Lane in the SOMA area of SF, and they were lovely.)

Sadly, the internet recipes I found must have been for brandied cherries sauce, as the cooked recipe I found turned the cherries way too mushy to use. I instead turned to the garnish selection at Beltramos. They had a large bottle of what looked like the right thing--small, dark purple cherries--but the bottle not only was huge, it was over $20, which seemed an expensive and wasteful experiment. I settled for a jar of bright red Miss Scarlett's "Drunken" Brandied Cherries. Tastewise, they aren't really any different than your grocery-store maraschinos. Overly sweet, waxy texture. There is a slight brandy flavor, but not the small sour cherry I was looking for. And it's not surprising, since the main ingredients are water and corn syrup.

Cherries are currently in season, so please please please send me your brandied sour cherry recipes.

Fair and Warmer

What I've learned from the rum drinks I've had so far is that sweet vermouth is a better companion to rum than dry vermouth. Triple sec helps, too.

That's all.

.75 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1.5 oz Light Rum (Bacardi Silver)
.5 tsp Triple Sec (Potter's)

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Note that I follow directions very poorly and shook this drink, hence the foam.

Mixology Monday: Limoncello

Mixology Monday over at Jiggle the Handle this month is Lemon. And Limoncello is sooooo predictable, yes. But I just finished a batch and am immensely proud of it, so I'm posting.

I found a whole slew of recipes here, although I can't tell you which I made, since I kind of mixed different recipes. But from what I remember, I used about 10 organic lemons and a liter of Everclear to steep them in.

Limoncello is incredibly easy to make, but the fact you made it impresses the hell out of people when you serve it to them. You all should go make some yourselves immediately.

In the process of searching the internet for recipes, I came across two good tips:
1. You know the peels are done infusing when they are brittle like potato chips. Weird. They also get all pale.

2. Adding simple syrup to the clear infusion while both are cool results in a clear product. Adding it while the syrup is slightly warm makes cloudy syrup. (I discovered this in the Creme de Menthe making.) Since most of the recipes and descriptions of limocello say it's cloudy, I added the simple syrup while warm. Worked like a charm.

I've had limoncello before, and it tasted like artificial lemon candy. This version tastes like sweet fresh lemons.

I bottled quite a bit of it, some in small little lemon-shaped bottles and some in larger bottles. It made much more than I thought it would, actually. The cloudiness of it, and the fact that you keep it in the freezer, lends itself to frosted bottles. A friend of mine just got married, so for his bachelor's party I gave him a large bottle that was sort of special Evian container, which I frosted with glass etching cream.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

El Presidente Cocktails No. 1 and No. 2

The thing is, I'm way too lazy to research the origins of the cocktails I write about. I'm too busy drinking them. So I like to imagine origin stories instead.

For example, Mr. Boston has two cocktails named "El Presidente", distinguished by No. 1 and No. 2. No. 1 is a flavored daiquiri--lime, plus a bit of pineapple and grenadine. I'm thinking that El Presidente No.1 was named after some sort of benevolent populist guy. He threw fabulous parties, gave inspiring speeches, but probably didn't get much done. El Presidente No. 2 was more of a bitter authoritarian.

At any rate, El Presidente No. 1 is sugary and drinkable, along the lines of family restaurant cosmopolitan drinks. El Presidente No. 2 is waaaaaaay too vermouthy, and quite bitter. Rum just can't stand up to both vermouth and bitters. I threw it out after a few sips. I feel sorry for my mother-in-law's housemate, Rover, who asked what I was making at the 4th of July party (hence the red plastic cup) and wanted one.

Speaking of Rover, I should mention that not only is he very entertaining (he is looking very grim in this photo at the prospect of drinking more El Presidente No.2), he is the proprietor of Tea Fountain, which sells wonderful teas. You really must visit the site, at the very least for the tea info pages.

Anyway, recipes:
No. 1
1 oz lime juice
1 tsp pineapple juice
1 tsp grenadine
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi silver)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

No. 2
.75 oz dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi silver)
dash bitters (Angostura)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


One of my former volleyball teams was named "Dingos of George". No one on the team was named George, and the name itself was the result of a long and surreal email exchange. But it's the best team name I've had since. However, none of the league administrators could ever spell it right. Dingoes, Dingo's, Dingoe's...sheesh. Anyway, that ramble was all a preface to this drink, the Dingo.

I can only assume (or hope) that this name was created in some Aussie bar as a refreshing antidote to a long walk through the dusty outback. Or it could be named such because the sandy orange color is very much like a dingo.

All the rum drinks are starting to run together in my mind, but this one has some Tennessee whiskey and Amaretto, which do make it rather distinctive. In general, this one has too many ingredients to ever become a favorite, but it's definitely worth trying once.

.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Silver)
.5 oz amaretto (Potters)
.5 oz Tennessee sour mash whiskey (Jack Daniel's)
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
2 oz OJ
Splash grenadine (homemade)
Shake with ice and pour into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with an orange slice.