Friday, December 28, 2007

Rum Sour

This isn't really that much different than half the goddamn recipes in the rum section. Rum, lemon or lime juice, a bit of sugar. However, maybe it was the lemon I used, but I found this to be waaaaay too sour. Even after I added some water and some more sugar, it still upset my stomach. Ughhhhhh....

1 oz lemon juice
.5 tsp simple syrup
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with a half-slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry.

Rum Screwdriver

It's everyone's favorite college drink, the Screwdriver! Featuring rum this time.

I used to drink screwdrivers and smoke a pipe while sitting on my 4th story window ledge as a college freshman, in an effort to cultivate vices. The pipe-smoking and gravity-defying didn't stick, but look where the screwdrivers got me.

It tastes like alcoholic orange juice, what did you expect? At least the booze didn't come from a plastic bottle this time.

1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
5 oz OJ

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled highball glass.

Rum Rickey

Rum and lime go together great, but honestly, without a little sweetness I find this too harsh. I tasted it a few times, then gave in and stirred in some simple syrup.

.5 oz lime juice
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
Club soda

Pour juice and rum into an ice-filled highball glass and top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Rum Relaxer

I made this drink and gave it a taste, and it tasted, um, kinda gross. I couldn't figure out what it was, but it didn't make sense to be coming from any of the flavors in it. I tasted the rum, pineapple, and grenadine separately. All fine. I had make the "lemon lime soda" from fresh lime juice, club soda, and simple syrup, and I'd tasted it ahead of time so I knew it was fine too.

So why does this drink taste

Shit. It tastes like silicone rubber. Which is what my ice cube trays are made of. The trays I hadn't used in my last place, which had an ice maker.

I remade the drink using the regular plastic ice trays, and it was pretty tasty! Sweet and fruity without being very tart--just what you'd expect from a pink drink.

1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
1 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz grenadine (homemade)
Lemon-lime soda (mixed from lime, simple syrup, and club soda until it tasted like 7-Up)

Shake rum, juice, and grenadine with ice and pour into hurricane, parfait, or 24-hrs of Adrenaline giveaway beer glass. Top with soda and garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Rum Old-Fashioned

I'm a big fan of the classic Old Fashioned, so I was excited to try this one. The main thing I was surprised at is that there is no muddled orange in this recipe, which I think is key to the drink.

All in all, I don't think this one is worth revisiting. It's ok, but rum just is no bourbon. The 151 on top certainly mimics the bite, though.

.5 tsp simple syrup
Dash bitters (Regan's Orange)
1 tsp water
1.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
1 tsp 151-proof rum (Bacardi 151)

Stir sugar, bitters, and water in an old-fashioned glass. Add ice and light rum. Garnish with a twist of lime peel and float the 151 on top.

Rum Highball and Rum Martini

Two classics, done with rum. I didn't take a photo of the Rum Highball, since you know what it looks like. (Hint: a tall glass of fizzy water with ice.)

Instead, we have a photo of the Rum Martini and my new dog, Finn! He's not a drinker, but he's totally into that dog biscuit next to the drink.

The Rum Highball is a way to get your alcohol and your hydration in one, with minimal fuss. 2 oz rum in a glass of ice, fill with club soda or ginger ale. If you're feeling fancy, add a lemon twist. Refreshing, simple, nice.

The rum martini is better than I thought it would be. If you don't like gin, I'd recommend this rather than a vodka martini. At least it has some flavor.
However, the recipe in Mr. Boston's for this one is all screwed up. It asks for 4-5 "parts" rum, but a "dash" of vermouth. Don't they mean 1 "part" vermouth? Otherwise it doesn't make sense. Also, they say to serve the drink in a cocktail glass over ice, which just doesn't fit, obviously. So my corrected version:

2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
Dash dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a generous twist of lemon.

Rum Fix

Another rum sour drink here.

Sheesh. I've had so many drinks of this type I don't distinguish them anymore. This one has a straw! Whoo-hoo!

1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 tsp water
2.5 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)

Stir together in a highball glass and add ice, then rum. Stir and garnish with lemon and a straw.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Homemade Grenadine

There exist basically two recipes for homemade grenadine on the web:
1. Add equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar and shake with cold/room temp.
2. Add equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar and boil 20 minutes until reduced.

I think both of these have issues. The first method may keep the "bright" flavor of the grenadine, but you will have to refrigerate the final product to keep it from spoiling. Oh right--another thing--adding a dash of alcohol does nothing as a preservative. You need at least 10% alcohol in order for it to do anything useful preservative-wise, and then you'd be making pomegranate liqueur, not grenadine.

The second method yields a "cooked" taste, and sometimes a brownish color. Based on my recent post about simple syrup, the long cooking with the pomegranate acid will indeed result in a long shelf-life product, but I bet the flavor suffers.

So I decided to make mine by adding juice and sugar 1:2, and then heating until clear--only 5 mins or so. This results in a thicker syrup great for those layered drinks (and partial invert, so it will stay good for a long time unrefrigerated), and yet doesn't seem to compromise the flavor or color. And the syrup is tasty! I need to get some vanilla ice cream immediately to pour this stuff on.

We're back! With a Rum Daisy

Well folks, it's been about 6 months since the last CocktailJen post, and it's about time to get back to drinking. In the meantime, I finished a half-Ironman, moved back to suburbia from San Francisco, and got a dog. Expect to see more fur in the pictures. If not the dog himself, odds are there will be a hair or two stuck to the rim of my glass. Such is my current life.

Anyway, after considering ditching the rum section to move on to more interesting spirits, I instead decided to stick it out and see this thing to the end.

Therefore, the next recipe is the Rum Daisy. Sadly, it's not anything new. Basically it's a daiquiri/sour variant. For spice it's served in a julep cup. I no longer have my metal cups, so a glass mug will have to do.

My homemade grenadine didn't seem all that fresh, so I may be misjudging this drink. (Immediately afterwards I poured it out and then later made a new batch.) But it's sour, sweet, and otherwise unremarkable.

Rum Daisy
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 tsp simple syrup
1 tsp grenadine (homemade and over-the-hill)
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled stein or metal cup. Add one large ice cube and garnish with fruit.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rum Cobbler, Rum Collins, Rum Cooler

These next three cocktails are all pretty similar, so I'm posting them together.

The first is the Rum Cobbler. Not a whole lot to say here--rum, sugar, club soda. The Rum Cooler is just about the exact same thing. The main differences are the kind of ice and garnishes.

1 tsp sugar or simple syrup
2 oz club soda
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)

In a goblet, dissolve sugar in club soda, and fill with shaved ice. Add rum and stir. Garnish with fruits and serve with a straw.

The Rum Cooler is very similar but with cubes instead of shaved ice, which leads to a drink slightly less cold, but very similar in taste. I did have some fun making the really loooong orange peel spiral, showering the glass in orange oil in the process. So my Rum Cooler was distinctly orangey.

.5 tsp sugar or simple syrup
2 oz club soda
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
Club soda or ginger ale

In a collins glass, dissolve the sugar in the club soda. Add ice and rum. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a spiral of lemon or orange peel.

The Rum Collins is the same thing but with some lime juice added, which vastly improves things. Rum loves lime, and I love rum with lime.

1 oz lime juice
1 tsp sugar or simple syrup
2 oz light rum (Bacardi Superior)
Club soda

Shake all ingredients except club soda with ice and strain into a collins glass. Add ice, fill with club soda, and stir. Garnish with lemon and a marashino cherry.

Robson Cocktail

The Robson cocktail is interesting. Not many drinks in this vein use dark rum. I made one for my husband as well, which is why there are two.

Not a bad drink if you want something to sip that isn't too dry and has an interesting, exotic flavor.

2 tsps lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice
1.5 tsps Grenadine (homemade)
1 oz Jamaica Rum (Myer's)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Rain Man

Ok, first triathlon of the season is over, so now I've got a nice backlog of posts to get through, and more to come. I must get through this darn rum section soon. Only about 6 pages left!

I normally don't keep Midori in the house. It's not my favorite liqueur--cloying, without real "melon" flavor in my opinion. This drink doesn't really change my opinion much, either. I don't understand why Midori is so often mixed with orange juice. It makes a ghastly color, and the flavors end up mixing in a way that causes a bit of harshness and some bitterness. But the 151 evens it out by getting you buzzed nice and fast.


1.25 oz 151 proof rum (Bacardi 151)
.75 oz melon liqueur (Midori)
4 oz OJ
Shake and pour into an ice-filled hurricane or parfait glass.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Not So Simple Syrup

It's been a while folks, but I have a few drinks backlogged that I will get to very soon. But basically the problem is that it's very difficult to train for a triathlon and drink often. There must be room for both somewhere, so I'll squeeze them both in somehow.

Anyway, to follow on the simple syrup stuff from Alton Brown's show, I've been thinking about simple syrup chemistry. Turns out there's a lot more going on than just dissolving some sugar into water.

First of all is the concept of "water activity". I happen to work at a place that employs a food scientist, and she introduced me to the term while we were discussing the possible shelf life of reconstituted peanut butter powder.

Water activity is basically the amount of water that is in a substance that isn't immobilized or chemically bound. High water activity means fast spoilage, low water activity means slow spoilage. Bacteria and fungi need water, and therefore high water activity, to live and reproduce. From Wikipedia, "Bacteria usually require at least 0.91, and fungi at least 0.7". Wikipedia's list of common foods' water activities show that raw meat and milk with .97 or so water activity leads to quick spoilage, but honey or dry pasta at only .5 will stay good for a long time.

This is where sugar comes in. Sucrose (a disaccharide, made up of glucose and fructose) is a small molecule, and really good at binding up that free water. You can make a sugar syrup by just dissolving table sugar (sucrose) in water, like the commenter in the previous entry said, by pouring boiling water into a bowl of sugar. But you aren't really getting the water activity low enough to prevent spoilage without refrigeration. You can try adding more sugar than water, but at some point you're either going to get a syrup that's too thick, or run the risk of super-saturating the solution and ending up with rock candy in the bottle. What to do?

Monosaccharides like glucose and fructose are smaller than glucose, and are even better at reducing water activity. So if you were making simple syrup, you'd probably want that sucrose, which is made of glucose and fructose, to break up, right?

Turns out there are two super-easy ways to do it: for a 1:1 sugar/water solution, add a pinch of cream of tartar along with the sugar to the boiling water. Or a bit of lemon juice. (1 gram of acid per kilogram of sugar) Acid is a catalyst to breaking up those sucrose molecules into fructose and glucose. You have to simmer for 20 minutes for the reaction to totally finish, but the resulting syrup will have a lower water activity than a sucrose solution, as well as being about 20% sweeter. This stuff is called an partially inverted sugar syrup, or invert syrup for short. The "invert" part is about how it polarizes light, if you must know.

You can also make a partially invert syrup without acid by changing the recipe from a simple syrup (1:1) to 2:1 sugar/water, and simmering for 5-7 minutes until the solution is clear. The result will be a bit thicker since there is more sugar solute.

This stuff can sit out on your bar for a good six months. Although you'll probably have used it up by then, anyway.

I'm definitely going to try the acid version, as my pourers have a hard time with the thick 2:1 that I've been using. Here's to chemistry!

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.

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.