Friday, December 15, 2006

Passion Daiquiri

Maybe if I had been more of a lush this year, I could have come to this cocktail at a more appropriate time, like August. Daiquiris in December just aren't right, somehow.

I have to admit, I don't understand the passionfruit appeal in tiki drinks. I find passionfruit a very subtle flavor, and it is usually completely overwhelmed by the lime. This drink is good, but not very passiony. Perhaps juice is stronger than the syrup?

Also, the flash on the beaded fruit makes them look a bit radioactive.

1.5 light rum (Bacardi Superior)
1 oz lime juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 Tbsp passionfruit juice (I actually used Trader Joe's passionfruit syrup, and slightly less sugar.)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Snowy Drinks

From the previously-mentioned holiday housewarming party, I have a handful of favorite holiday drinks to share. The food for this party was inspired by a snowflake theme, so I decided to have a selection of "snowy" cocktails--sweet, creamy white, and cold.

Brandy Alexander
Brandy is often considered the most fitting spirit for the holidays. With the creme de cacao, this drink goes well with sweet Christmas cookies.
.5 oz Creme de Cacao (clear)
1 oz brandy
.5 oz heavy cream
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I discovered this drink after making some homemade Advocaat and then not knowing what to do with it. Advocaat is an egg-based liqueur that is similar to eggnog, but with a slight lemon flavor instead of nutmeg. However, there aren't many recipes for cocktails that use it outside the Snowball. However once I tried this, I quickly went through my supply of Advocaat and knew I had to make some more. The taste is creamy and sweet, with the consistency of a root beer float. There are many recipes out there, but I think the fizzy is important, and I like the ease of making this one.

Pour 2 oz advocaat over ice in an old fashioned glass. Fill with lemon-lime soda and stir.

Egg Nog
This is NOT the seaweed-thickened goop you buy in a carton. This nog is delightfully frothy. The recipe comes from Alton Brown's Good Eats show. I'll summarize:

4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream

Separate eggs into yolks and whites. Beat the yolks with sugar, then stir in milk, cream, and 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, of course).

Whip the egg whites with a bit of sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir into the yolk mixture.

Serving tips:
I always triple the recipe for gatherings. It goes fast. Also, serve in a large punch bowl and stir well before each serving, and the nutmeg sinks and the white float to the top. A pitcher will NOT work for this recipe. Ideally the cup of nog will be uniformly frothy when served. Pour in 1.5 oz of your liquor of choice per cup (brandy is popular, as is bourbon or rum) and stir. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg on the top.

Christmas Russian (aka the Cy Special)
Cy is a Big Lebowski fan. Which means often his drink of choice is a White Russian. But when egg nog is to be had, I mix him up a Christmas version.

1 oz Kahlua
2 oz vodka
Into an ice-filled old fashioned glass, pour Kahlua and vodka. Fill with nog and stir. Garnish with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.

The Bernal

This past weekend we hosted a holiday housewarming party. One of the guests, Dave, is always willing to try a new cocktail, and so he decided that he wanted to invent one with bitters. We decided to start with the Fee's Lemon Bitters.

The best thing to do, I thought, was to stick with a purely original cocktail recipe, and go with a spirit, sugar, and bitters. With the Lemon bitters, it seemed that gin might go well. And I happen to have a couple of bottles of thyme-infused gin still. I mixed one up, and Dave made me taste it first.

It actually turned out really well! Thyme, gin, and lemon are all complimentary flavors. This ended up being a smooth and flavorful cocktail. Dave decided to name it "The Bernal" in honor of our shared neighborhood in San Francisco.

2 oz thyme-infused gin (recipe here: Sweet thyme liqueur
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes Fee's Lemon Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy in a warmed house.