Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Alton Brown Knows Cocktails

I'm currently watching a Tivo'd episode of Alton Brown's Good Eats called Raising the Bar. I had held off watching this episode, because I feared that it would be like most other cooking shows--showcase some godawful tiki drinks, Appletinis, or tell you to keep your vodka in the freezer.

However, I should have trusted Alton. He always does his research. Good show, Alton. Good show.

Good stuff to note:
- Breaking down cocktails into "chords"--you have a base note (spirit), a modifier (mixer), and an accent (bitters, citrus, olive, etc). Some cocktails are two notes, some three, some more. The chord idea nicely encompasses the balance and harmony idea of a good cocktail.

-Making "Mr. Bond" a proper martini (gin, stirred). Because "gin is vodka, with herbs and juniper added." I never really thought about adding the olive first, either--it mixes the brine into the drink. Nice touch, even if I will never drink one (olives I can only take in extremely small doses ideally smothered with other ingredients).

- The nutritional anthropologist also likes real daiquiris. With fresh lime juice. And simple syrup. And I didn't know that making simple syrup (2 parts sugar to one water, boil, then simmera few minutes) breaks about the sucrose into fructose and glucose, which is sweeter than sucrose, plus it resists crystallization. From which I infer that if you have crystals in your simple syrup, you either used the wrong proportions or didn't simmer it long enough. You learn something new every day!

Sadly though, with the Mint Julep he made two unfortunate errors: bad southern accent, and he used the wrong end of the muddler.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quarter Deck Cocktail, and Poker Cocktail

I seem to have skipped a page of P's in the rum section, which I'll have to go back to. So pardon me if my alphabetizing is out of order.

Anyway, I shamelessly changed this recipe from a stirred cocktail to a shaken one in honor of my new Boston shaker. Look at the frost on the steel part! Woot.

I originally was going to make a Poker Cocktail, but not that long ago I had a Little Princess cocktail, which was also equal parts sweet vermouth and light rum. The only difference between them in the Mr. Boston's Guide is that the Poker is stirred, and the Little Princess is shaken. I didn't think that the difference would be enough to warrant another try, so on to the Quarter Deck.

I appreciate the cream sherry in this drink. It is definitely the dominant flavor in this drink.

.5 oz cream sherry
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
.5 oz lime juice

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Planter's Punch No. 2

Sheesh, I could have baked a cake in the time it took to make this cocktail.

I do appreciate a fruit salad cocktail, but not when I have to make it. I just so happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so why the hell not? I love the fact that the instructions say "serve with a straw". Duh! There's no room left on the rim to sip from!

Taste-wise, this is a pretty standard fruit juice and rum concoction. If tasty is what you're going for, it's all about the orgeat syrup in a Mai Tai. But this drink wins hands down on presentation.

1 oz lime juice
.25 oz lemon juice
2 oz orange juice
1 tsp pineapple juice
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
1 oz jamaica rum (Myer's dark)
2 dashes Triple Sec (Dekyuper's)
1 dash grenadine (homemade)

Stir first 5 ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail glass. Add jamaican rum and stir. Add triple sec and grenadine. Garnish with slices of oragne, lemon, and pineapple, a maraschino cherry, and a sprig of mint dipped in sugar. Serve with a straw.

Pineapple cocktail

Holy cow, the holidays were in there somewhere. I took a bit of an unintentional leave of absence there, but trust me, there was still drinking.

Note to self: perhaps one day you will learn that one should never get drunk on champagne, no matter how varied and interesting the number of champagne cocktails. I don't remember much of New Year's Day except for a vague sense of having watched a documentary on whales...

Honestly, I do miss the holiday season. At no other time is brandy consumed in such great quantities along with large amounts of saturated fat. And nutmeg! What other time of the year can you add nutmeg to just about any cocktail?

Anyway, back to the Pineapple cocktail. There is absolutely nothing holiday about this cocktail, unless you make it while singing Mele Kelikimaka along with Bing Crosby.

This cocktail is a bit *yawn*. I honestly don't think pineapple is a good cocktail flavor. Fresh pineapple is just about my favorite food ever, and perhaps I just object to it being adulterated with any other ingredient. But good fresh pineapple juice just isn't sweet enough to balance this cocktail. Not to say I didn't drink it, however, since it's still pineapple.

.75 oz pineapple juice
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
.5 tsp lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.