Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mixology Monday, December 2013: Anise!

*glides in on ice skates* Christmastime is heeeeeeer--wuh wo WAOH!! *crash*
*gets covered in snow from the branches above*

Par for the course this month.

It's was Mixology Monday again! Nick over at the très très snazzy The Straight Up is our gracious host for the month with a theme for the soft spot in any mixologist's heart, that particular flavor we all probably didn't like when growing up but now adore after having our first Sazerac: Anise!
Although great any time of year, there is something about colder weather and the holidays that really sets my anise fetish into overdrive. While past MxMos have seen a few specific sources of anise, such as pastis and absinthe, I wanted to open things up to anything anise flavored, the more unique the better.

Most folks have something with anise notes laying around, whether it’s Absinthe or Pastis, Ouzo, Genepy, even Green Chartreuse, Peychaud’s, Raki, etc.

Maybe get creative and make something tasty with some star anise, like a syrup, infusion or tincture. Show us that riff on a Sazerac or Improved Holland Gin Cocktail that you love, or create something entirely new.  If you’re feeling frisky, see if you can work in a few anise ingredients. Either way throw something together and share it with us all.
When active, this link will send you to the summary post of this month's festivities.

If anything, this theme needs only one question: which anise-flavored spirit do you use?!? Or, in my case, do you have a work-in-progress which would fit? Answer: Yes!

It was one of those Twitter-challenge types of recipes:
[hat-tip, Mr. Dietsch!]

So, where to start? Golden Glider, aka Lisa Snart, is the younger sister of Flash archvillain Captain Cold. Now, despite said affiliation, she was on the straight-and-narrow with a career as a figure skater, but when her lover and coach, Roscoe Dillon - aka The Top, perished due to speed-related illness, she laced up her razor-sharp skates and swore mighty vengeance against the Flash. Equipped not just with her skates (which borrowed technology from her brother's cold guns that could project aerial ice) but with a range of jewel-themed weapons (nicely keeping in the "ice" theme) she pursued her vendetta up until the Flash/Barry Allen died in the conflict known as Crisis on Infinite Earths. With her foe dead, for a time she went quasi-straight and teamed up with her brother as the Golden Snowball Recovery Company, a duo of bounty hunters. As these things go, though, soon enough she was lacing up her skates once again, bigger and badder than before.

Where does that leave the cocktail? Well, for starters it needs to be golden. Given Lisa's heyday was in the 70s and early 80s, it only seems fitting to turn to that swingin' cat of the period: Galliano (and there's our anise!). Also, there is a known cocktail called the Snowball (advocaat, lime cordial & lemonade) - I'll drop the advocaat here, but steal the lemon. Ah, we've got a Sour cocktail in the making. Now for a base spirit, also golden. Something premium, sippable and glides smooth down the throat, a bit sweet: 10 Cane Rum. And heck, why not make it luxe and bubbly with a splash of golden champagne (and steer it away from being a Yellow Bird)? But of course, a healthy dash of bitter would truly match Lisa's personality. Finally, because I really can't help myself where fancy ice is concerned, just like I can't resist the idea of jewel-themed gadgets with which to wreak havoc, a little something special in that department, no need for a garnish.

These recipes are dedicated to the world's foremost Golden Glider fangirl, Lia Brown, from an old Rogues fangirl acquaintance from LiveJournal.

Golden Glider
2 oz 10 Cane Rum
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 dash Fee Bros gin-barrel-aged orange bitters
1 oz champagne (dry, please)

orange blossom jewel-shaped ice*

Shake the first four ingredients with light ice.

Add the champagne to a chilled Collins glass over 4 or 5 jewel-shaped orange blossom water-infused ice cubes.

Top with your shaken mixture.

Jostle to blend if you feel like it.

You'd think the rum and Galliano would be more forward in this drink, but it's ultimately much more orange-oriented. Instead of the straight sweetness you'd expect to find in a syrupy liqueur like Galliano, you first get a low bitter note immistakeable of Fee Bros. Orange across your tongue (where it'll linger on the finish), which then literally blossoms as the ice melts and releases a metric centiliter-ton of orange blossom water anchored and fused to Galliano's deep anise. It's not Orange Crush, though it might prove challenging to your palate depending on how sensitive it is, but I like it for how different a profile it is. The floral and rarefied orange make you slow down...it feels like a special occasion. As you drink down the long thin glass, you get wonderful bursts of aromatics as well. Rum/Galliano vanilla and lemon pick up on the tail end, and the champagne dries just enough to a wonderful balance overall.

Of course, comic book characters tend to go through many permutations: What-If? storylines, situations and extremities to be undone by the end of the story, and failed attempts to keep up with the times. Like the above-pictured story where the washed out Flash Rogues gather to reminisce after the death of Barry Allen, one of my favorite issues of The Flash is Annual #5 from 1992, one of the early stories from the Eclipso: The Darkness Within crossover event. In addition to much witty banter and inside baseball from a great trio of Rogues (Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard and The Trickster) and some very pretty Image-esque art which fits the story though is perhaps a bit out of place in the greater Flash universe, the story features Golden Glider gradually revealing her compulsion to steal Eclipso's black diamond, finally being taken over by the archaic Spirit of Vengeance and raising hell on Central City. Of course, this lends itself to a variation with a black (Sambuca - also anise! Yay!) diamond.

Golden Glider (Eclipso)
2 oz Smith & Cross rum
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 dash absinthe
1 dash bitter orange amaro like Campari or Gran Classico

orange blossom jewel-shaped ice + 1 black Sambuca diamond ice cube*

It seems the same Golden Glider, but without bubbles and stronger and...there's a funkiness to it, but loads of vanilla too. Makes me wish I had Malört on hand. The quick-melting black Sambuca ice gives a nice "contamination" effect.

But for a being on a cosmic power level with The Spectre, you could probably get away meaning-wise by using all Lemon Hart 151, but that's not recommendable (and I can't, just on a practical level, because PA effectively makes you buy a lifetime supply if you're going to buy any of that bottle - hence no LH151 pour moi). The absinthe and bitter orange liqueur also rachet up the evil level while enhancing the already-existing flavors.

* For orange blossom water ice cubes, use 1/2 tsp orange blossom water for every ounce water.
For black Sambuca ice, use 1 teaspoon Black Sambuca and fill the remainder with water.
[2013-12-25 00:40, Edited to add, for want of totally-organized thoughts earlier: lack of time and resources prevented this, but if you wanted to be thoroughly geeky about the original Golden Glider recipe, use a different hydrosol for each ice cube to play up the different functionality in each of Lisa's jewel-weapons. The likes of rose water, or homemade violet, mint, and almond hydrosols would be quite an arsenal.]

Now quick, someone make a Spectre cocktail or set, distinguishing between Ostrander, DeMatteis and Rucka incarnations!

Cheers to Nick for hosting a delicious MxMo and to Fred for wrangling the cats into their Santa suits yet again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Impromptu: Falling Sun Manhattan

I might as well face it: I'll always be trying to remake the Manhattan.

The Manhattan itself a dark seasons classic, I wanted to add some autumnal/festive-seasons richness with a brooding quality to the mix. The cassis and nocino had been calling out to me, so I chanced it:

Falling Sun Manhattan
2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
1/4 oz crème de cassis
1/4 oz nocino
1/4 oz sweet vermouth (Vya)
1 dash Bittercube Bolivar bitters
1 dash Regan's orange bitters
orange twist

Stir, strain, large ice cube, rocks.
Express and garnish.

It's a bit sweet, but it rises to blog-worthy status based on its well-illuminated complexity; the tart and bitter turns of each liqueur opens up the cocktail well beyond the standard Manhattan. (oddly enough, I tried subbing in Rittenhouse rye for half the bourbon for balance only to find the flavors collapsed) Buffalo Trace's structure and....I wanna say flavor clarity, it interweaves so well...does some heavy lifting, bringing not only its own wood notes as a foundation but enunciating the cassis and the bitter herbs underneath. Not every bourbon will be as successful, either; I know of several in my cabinet which would just be too blunt and inarticulate here. 

Also, keep the orange away from the cassis, lest you find them on honeymoon in your mouth! As if it weren't bad enough already with the bitters adding a degree of spice...

This would be perfect to drink while enjoying a Sagittarian sunset (which, come to think, start today). The dark hours grow earlier and the landscapes bleaker, but those sunsets... Royal blue and shaded gold melded into a full jewel-toned rainbow. The weariness in body and soul comes easier now, but the world and the year show us they are still pregnant as currant berries with unspent meaning. And that satisfies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mixology Monday, November 2013: Resin, part 2

As I was working on my first recipe for for this Mixology Monday, it came to me that I had another resinous ingredient that had been sitting on my shelf a long while for just such an occasion: Skinos Mastiha liqueur, a not-too-sweet Greek spirit from the island of Chios centered around the flavor of mastic resin. To my palate, its most prominent notes are of sweet limes and celery, but it's not one to overwhelm in cocktails, offering a slight resinous edge and lift on the tongue.

While the resin is harvested in the summertime, as I went about finding a spirit match for the Mastiha with whisky, it got me to wondering how the bleak wintertime moors of Scotland would translate to the wintertime seas of the Mediterranean. There's a certain mood about November, the quiet austerity before the month of Holidays proper sets in, as the leaves finish falling and the cold begins to truly set in. This is what I aimed for with this cocktail.

Grey Seas, Grey Skies
1 1/2 oz blended Scotch whisky
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Skinos Mastiha liqueur
1/4 oz white grapefruit juice
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
tiny pinch salt
thyme braid for garnish

Shake all, double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with thyme braid.

A quiet sipper, with predominant bitter notes though weakly sweet. Smoke notes hover like mist. A whiff of the thyme (slightly resinous in itself, or at least the type I buy with somewhat woody stems) pulls up grapefruit notes on the palate, and through that mastic subtlety.

There's still beauty left in the world. You simply must be still to pick up on it.

Notes: this recipe could be said to be a take-off on the Woodward or the Miami Beach. And if you have Bittermens' Hopped Grapefruit bitters, more power to you! That'll only add to the overall resin-ance.

Cheers to Shaun and Christa for hosting a delightfully pensive topic, and to Fred for continued fine wrangling (may your lasso never wear)!

The round-up post is here.

Mixology Monday, November 2013: Resin, part 1

Greetings once again, this late Mixology Monday night! I've been more fatigable than usual of late, so let's be pithy. Shaun and Christa, the Booze Nerds, have teased out a theme for us this month, the sort that makes you go "Ohhhhh! Now there's an idea with deeper resonance for the season." Or Resin-ance, as the case may be:
We thought hard about a theme that would work well for this time of year, and after contemplating the food, booze, and decor we like for the holidays, we settled on “Resin”. From savory rosemary in a stuffing, to a delicious juniper-y gin in a martini, to a fragrant fir ornament or garnish, our friends the evergreens have a lot to offer. The challenge: come up with an ingenious creation using the resin-y ingredient of your choice. Zirbenz, retsina, hoppy IPA, pine-nut puree, even? Sure! Spirit, garnish, aroma, all are fair game. Whatever resin means to you, we want to hear it.
When active, this link will send you to the summary post of this month's festivities.

Being an Aries, I've read that frankincense is an especially good spice for the sign, and the stress-relieving cinnamon-frankincense candles I've had over the years give that theory much credit. So the scent being close to my heart, how can I not want to cocktail with it? Its exoticism makes me think of a fortune teller, rings and jewels and layers of variegated-patterned frocks, a little of this and a little of that but never quite one thing -- perhaps the reason her senses are so attuned to the other side.

So sit back, breathe deep as the frankincense soothes you, and drink deep of the underlying interconnectedness. And beyond this recipe, stay tuned in a few seconds for another resinous cocktail, which would only clutter this post.

The Shew Stone
2 oz Gewürztraminer
1/2 oz Becherovka
1/4 oz grappa
1/4 oz blanco mezcal
absinthe ice sphere
frankincense-smoked glass

Smoke your rocks serving glass with frankincense, about 1-2 minutes.*
Stir liquid ingredients on light ice to combine.
Add absinthe ice sphere to serving glass and strain cocktail over top.
Sniff and savor.

*Frankincense requires indirect heat, either via a lit specialty charcoal briquet or an aluminum pie plate over a low-heat stove or hot plate. Rest serving glass over the smoke on minimally-conductive lifts made from wood or porcelain (I used a pie plate on the stove with a spare wooden chopstick broken in two to protect the glass from heat damage).

The delicacy of frankincense hits your nose first, all ginger and pine and smoke and white citrus. This leads into the hearth fire of the mezcal (El Buho, here) and then subtle sweetness and rose petals (reinforced by the grappa -- Alexander, di Cabernet in my case) on the tongue. Dryness follows as well as a subtle complexity - a mix of the frankincense and Becherovka. After some time when the ice sphere begins to melt, your fortune (or maybe just intoxication) begins to emerge in notes of anise and fennel - not sore thumbs in the least, but further complexity that play up the frankincense.

As you might notice, there's no base spirit to this cocktail. Sure, there's grappa and mezcal around the edges, but no anchor beyond the gewurtz. Very much intended. Whoever might be telling fortunes would likely be a nomad or gypsy, picking up a wide variety of spirits in her travels, as the recipe demonstrates. This one cocktail I admire, the Against All Odds from PDT, started my thoughts off down this direction.

  1. I'm not a wine expert, so selecting a precise Gewürztraminer is something I can't do, particularly with the limitations of the PLCB. Overall, the ideal gewurtz for this cocktail would emphasize ginger, rose and lychee notes, while being about midway between sweet and dry - sweet to integrate the other ingredients and dry/acidic to define them so they're not swimming beneath the surface. The two wines I used for testing proved to be on either end of the spectrum (Domaine Paul Buecher 2011 - sweet & Firestone 2009 - dry), so 1 oz of each ended up about right.
  2. Also important is selecting a food grade frankincense. Frankincense has multiple grades, some only fit for burning as incense. While you don't have to go all the way to "superior" (très très cher), the paler and more translucent the better. I found this frankincense online, which is marketed as a "tea" (always an excellent signifier for obscure herbs and spices, imo) - it proves quite ethereal when smoked and also functions well as a chewing gum.
  3. To make an absinthe ice sphere, fill your spherical ice mold (mine's a Tovolo) with water and let freeze for a few hours until a frozen outer shell has developed, somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2" thick. At that point, drill a small hole in the shell and drain the water out. Replace said water with a chilled mix of 1/2 oz absinthe to 3 oz or more of water. Dilution and chilling are key, because otherwise the absinthe's high proof will melt a hole straight through the sphere and wreck it upon addition. It is possible to just do an ice sphere of diluted absinthe, but the outer rough texture leaves something to be desired aesthetically. Plain water ice will give you a glossy clear exterior like that of a crystal ball, while the absinthe adds a cloudiness and mystique which suggests there's magic happening inside. More pointers on complex/filled ice spheres here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ti(n)sanity!: Jane Porter

As I mentioned way back in August, I'm working on more (and advanced) ideas for this Ti(n)sanity! series, my look at all the various ways you can use tea in a cocktail; for grins and flavor-tracking consistency, Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer herbal tea/tisane serves as my Macguffin. *points downwards to the Disclaimer*.

This particular iteration backtracks a little bit, back to the syrup-level found in the Lullaby Sangaree and Insufferable Creole Minx (linked below) and is the second part of a "fancy orgeat" exploration that started with Giganta. Tea syrups, be it Earl Grey or Chai or Lapsang Souchong, are quite common anymore amongst the cocktail set. But what prevents them from being more complex entities beyond tea + sweetener? In my experience cocktailing, something herbal like a tisane lends itself quite well as an accent note or flavor enhancer -- so why not enhance a single ingredient as well as its cocktail?

But why orgeat? At first glance, orgeat, a sweetened nut milk syrup with hydrosol accents, already seems to have a lot of complexity going for it. The nut oils lend a pearly opacity to a cocktail, as well as an evanescent rich sweetness enhanced by the traditional rose and/or orange blossom water hydrosols. Really, you could play around with the nuts, the sugars and the hydrosols (why not lavender or mint or any other herbal flavor you can dream up?) to your hearts' content and leave scads of combinations on the table. But if those three components are customizable, then how about the final, most innocuous ingredient, the water?

Enter the tisane, whose delicacy functions much as the hydrosols do, by not overpowering the nuts' subtlety*. Flavoring the water produces more of a shade or tone to the syrup, though, bringing notes which can make themselves felt even while using scant amounts of orgeat in a cocktail.

*conversely, if using a coffee, it's the nuts' richness which gets paired with the water flavoring, as countless international coffee cocktail recipes attest.

Now, to the featured cocktail itself. The initial dreaming was for a more Jane-of-the-Jungle variation on my Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Punch, which, with the intersection of this orgeat idea blossomed into 3 recipes. You'll have to wait to see JotJ until I can get my rums in order (which'll be soon enough), but for now let's take this other side street back onto Ti(n)sanity Ave. for a look at the lady before she met the jungle (and her Lord Greystroke): Jane Porter.

Jane Porter
1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Malacca
1/2 oz ruby port
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz Tension Tamer orgeat, recipe below
2 dashes Abbott's bitters
3/4 oz egg white
lime zest for garnish

Give all the ingredients a good dry shake (sans ice - I find adding the spring from a Hawthorne strainer to the shaker helps things froth well).

Add ice and shake to chill and dilute.

Double-strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Garnish with fine-grated lime zest if desired.

Gin-herbal and bright with almond-berry sweetness, but also dry on the tongue with port/lime acidity and egg white. Regular almond orgeat would stick out like a sore thumb with its brightness, but the herbal-vanilla quality of the Tension Tamer folds that flavor into the Malacca to produce something much more seamless. Abbott's bitters, native to Baltimore as Jane herself was, offer an understated taming note that meshes invisibly with the other ingredients. At first glance, it's a frilly pink drink for a proper young woman, replete with gin and tea and a youthful energetic fortified wine -- but there's Tiki around the edges and in its very soul, right to the tropical notes in the Malacca.

This recipe development was a trial. The ratios settled themselves out easily enough, and I found out that this recipe is quite similar to the Crimson cocktail (not sure if it's named for the color and/or the Harvard newspaper, though it seems classic-styled enough to fit) and the much more modern Anne Bonny (like-minded gal-badass-themed kudos, Rafa!).

[Edited to add, 01-24-2014: Just found on one of my favorite port cocktail recipe pages, natch, the ratios bear much similarity to the Saint Valentine]
[Edited to add, 01-29-2014: And another! The funky Dr. Phibes from Rated R Cocktails.]
[Edited to add, 02-23-2014: The Tiki-compliant Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail. Is this the foundational cocktail for the spirit/lime juice/red fortified wine/syrup-or-liqueur model?]
[Edited to add, 03-08-2014: Salvatore Daiquiri, with Cherry Heering and Averna]

But to the point: this cocktail needs the freshest lime and port possible. I'm sure you know how quickly both ingredients can fade and go "off", even when refrigerated, dear reader. Doubly so since they provide "sharp" notes, as they say in punch parlance.

Regular tea and almond-creamed tea.
Stay tuned! Many more ideas yet to come!

Tea/tisane-based orgeat
1 tea bag
1 cup boiling water
2 oz chopped almonds
1/3 cup sugar
3 drops rose water or other hydrosol

  1. Brew a strong cup of tea with the tea and water (until the tea is cooled). 
  2. Reheat the tea until quite hot, then pour 1/3 cup over the chopped almonds in a mug or other heat-safe container. Cover and let sit for 4 hours.
  3. Strain the almond milk-tea through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and use the cheesecloth to wring out every last drop from the nuts.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the same nuts and liquid to further extract the almond oils. 
  5. Add sugar to finished liquid and stir/shake to dissolve. Finish with rose water.
  6. Store in the refrigerator and let rest before using. Makes about 1/2 cup, upsize as desired.
I tend to avoid a third "process" (steps 2 & 3) because you start getting a cooked-almond flavor from the applied hot liquid. So long as you give the nuts an adequate soak, you'll get plenty of flavorful almond oil.

Previous Ti(n)sanity recipes:

Wind Whisperer (gin and ouzo)
Eire Light (irish whiskey)
Hit the Road to Dreamland (rum)
Lullaby Sangaree (madeira) and Insufferable Creole Minx (bourbon, gin, madeira)
T. T. Punch (rhum agricole)
Me-tea-orite (single malt scotch)
Introduction and eThéreal Toddy (grappa)

Disclaimer: this is a non-sponsored post. Also, I'm not looking to do sponsored posts. I just really like this tea, is all, and have a policy of happily and independently buying all my ingredients.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The portals fly open:
Ruffled sleeves and legerdemain
Seize the essences
      occulted in dark woods.
A flow of claret velvet,
A splash of unctuous green,
Zaps of black to quicken,
Receive the sacred transfigurer.
Made new substance.

Just a quick nip before dinner.

2 oz armagnac
3/4 oz ruby port
1/4 oz green chartreuse
1 bsp nocino
1 dash pimento bitters
1 dash vanilla bitters
flamed orange zest

Stir all on ice.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Flame an orange zest over top, anoint the glass's rim, and discard.

The armagnac is a knowing armchair of vanilla and dark dried fruit -- rustic where cognac would be mannered -- and ruby port (Noval Black) rounds with fresh berry. The Chartreuse dominates, as is its wont, a geste of spicy herbs and deep magic. The nocino, along with the pimento bitters, takes those herbs down a deep and rich path. The vanilla bitters (Vanilla Lace or otherwise) and orange zest are all finesse.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mixology Monday, October 2013: Intercontinental

*crawls back from the world of Westeros with a very repaired liver and a creative drive at loose ends* HI!

So not only is it Mixology Monday, but we've got a real doozy of a challenge this time: Intercontinental, courtesy Stewart of Putney Farm:
Everywhere we travel these days we see cocktails on the menu. And not just here in the USA, but all around the world. And that’s not only the drinks, but the ingredients as well. Nowadays when we look behind most bars we see spirits, liqueurs, aromatic wines, bitters, herbs, spices, tools and glassware from all corners of the globe. So let’s celebrate the global reach of cocktails with an “Intercontinental” Mixology Monday challenge. Create a cocktail with “ingredients” from at least 3, but preferably 4, 5 or 6 continents. And if you can include Antarctica, then you get a Gold Star. And remember, sometimes the tools used, glassware, names or back stories of cocktails are important “ingredients”. Creativity and a bit of narrative exploration are encouraged. So if you have been waiting on buying that bottle of Japanese Scotch, Bundaberg rum from Australia, Pisco or Cachaca from South America or Madagascar vanilla, now may be the time to try them out….except for the Bundy…trust us on that. Have fun.
When active, this link will send you to the summary post of this month's festivities.

This recipe is very much indebted to Tiare's Coffee Barrel from A Mountain of Crushed Ice. Her love of the coffee-pineapple flavor combo caught my eye, and then got me wondering: if you've got coffee syrup and orgeat, why not combine the two? And frankly, if you're splitting the atom of orgeat like that, what next?

This is a little cart-before-the-horse: I've been noodling recipes that utilize tea over coffee and then a blend of nuts to expand upon my Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Punch. We'll get to those in due course, maybe a slower than in previous times.

But in the meantime, I've envisioned an out-growth of those two cocktails, taking Jane Porter and Jane of the Jungle to great -- nay, GIGANTIC -- heights with another jungle lady of pulp: Giganta, Doris Zeul, DC Comics supervillainess, Wonder Woman rogue and 50-foot (and beyond) woman who classically became dumber the bigger she grew (you can imagine how that works with rum). All that mixed in with mad scientist and gorilla roots from the 50s/60s -- I'm slightly surprised I'm not referencing To Russia With Love.

[insert Comic Books Cocktails Badge here, once designed]
Wonder Woman v2. #3, Heinberg & Dodsons
Blue Beetle v3. #19, Rogers, Baldeon, Bird
As Paco, lower-right, says:

3/4 oz Smith & Cross rum
3/4 oz white cachaça (51)
1/2 oz spiced rum
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz coffee-macadamia orgeat
1/4 oz banana liqueur
1/4 oz Becherovka
banana and macadamia nuts for garnish

Shake all but the garnish in a shaker full of ice. Pour all into a chilled Hurricane glass. Garnish with banana and macadamia nuts as you like. Note: the more overproof the spirits, the better.

For those keeping score at home: cachaça (South America), lime juice (Persian limes as the labels say, albeit from Mexico - Asia), rums and banana liqueur (North America), Becherovka and Tiare's (Sweden) recipe (Europe). And coffee-macadamia orgeat counts for both Africa (Fair Trade Rwanda Wild Mountain Gorilla Fund coffee) and Australia (indigenous macadamia nuts). As far as I know, Giganta hasn't teamed up with The Penguin or joined Justice League: Antarctica, so the seventh continent remains elusive.

The resulting cocktail is a tad sweet, though quite rounded in flavor, particularly due to the sweet ingredients (especially the banana liqueur). You get a nice coffee undernote, enhanced by macadamia's earthiness (would be much different if it were almond). The citruses add bite. I'm still new to the art of Tiki rum-mixing, but the rough 51 cachaça enhances the bite (the petrol note blends seamlessly with the coffee), while Smith & Cross adds needed oomph and hogo, and the spiced rum (Sailor Jerry) brought some vanilla notes which complimented the sweet elements. [Kraken might be nice here as well: a black element would always be favorable in a villain cocktail.] Becherovka restrains some of the sweet elements too, while adding a touch more depth.

Coffee-Macadamia Orgeat
2 oz roasted, crushed macadamia nuts
1/3 cup water
1/2 T coffee
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  1. Crush your macadamia nuts with a rolling pin in a baggie of some kind. You want the nuts well-crushed but not powdered, all the better to quickly extract the oils. If not roasted, roast on a baking sheet in the oven 4 minutes at 400F.
  2. Add nuts and water to a small sauce pot and simmer for 5 minutes on the stove. Remove from heat and let rest 30 minutes. (Do not apply too much heat. If you smell cooked nuts/oatmeal, you've overdone it). Pour mixture through a sieve covered in a few layers of cheesecloth into a cup. Thoroughly wring out excess liquid from the nuts.
  3. Add liquid back to the sauce pot, bring to simmer, add the same nuts, and repeat step 2.
  4. Repeat step 3, but add the coffee along with the nuts this time and omit resting. After sauce pot has been emptied, rinse out any stray particles, then add liquid back along with the sugar. Gently heat and stir to dissolve. Let cool and store in the fridge.
  5. No hydrosol necessary due to the use of coffee.
I think I've done enough orgeat at this point that I can really comment on the process. You want to make your nut milk first with as minimal cooking as possible prior to adding any sweetenings and flavorings. The more heat you apply, the more you get a cooked nut flavor -- but that also doesn't mean you have to take a full day or two to make the stuff. A few good wringings and you'll have extracted the bulk of the nuts' oils into your base liquid, to be modified as your wont.

Cheers to Stewart for hosting and Fred of Cocktail Virgin Slut for wrangling!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mixology Monday, September 2013: SMOKE

Rock on! It's Mixology Monday! [cue the theme song!]

This month's edition is hosted by Elana of the très très chic Stir and Strain (seriously, it's like My Little Ponies dancing on your eyeballs in the best way possible - do go check out her marvelous and beautiful creations!). The theme? Ideal-for-the-season (and a great companion piece to last month's theme) SMOKE.

From the announcement post:
They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire– it isn’t necessarily true if we’re down to the smoldering embers, but, well, they say it anyway. In our case, where there was fire, now there’s smoke, and it’s time to stoke your enthusiasm for the next challenge.

Smoke has been everywhere this past year, from liquors to lemonades, to the hills here in Southern California(!); smoke in its many forms has been front page news.

For me, smoke is also a transitional element: it symbolizes the last summer bonfires, sitting around the fire pit making s’mores, and the start of the fragrant crackles from the fireplace announcing that fall is coming.

For September’s theme, I’d like to see how you interpret smoke. With your liquor or ingredients? Your glassware? Will you whip out a chemistry set to transform your cocktail into ghostly vapors? Do you own a home smoker, still in the box, that’s never been used? Well then, you’re welcome. Unpack those ideas and let’s set off a couple smoke alarms this month for MxMo.
When active, this link will send you to the summary post of this month's festivities.

This is a recipe I've had in the back of my mind since about May or so, when I first discovered fresh oregano. I quickly learned the herb is generally better-used dried - you won't get as much flavor as you might like if you muddle it fresh in a drink. So, with that little ditty on the backburner, when the Smoke theme came up the idea and image of oregano smoke sparked renewed interest ('cause dried oregano infused into spirits seemed more spaghetti western than straight western, knowwhatImean?).

But why stop at oregano smoke? I had also considered doing another western-y sage smoke cocktail, but the ingredients for that one are still out of sight in the ether... Oregano's all well and good, but what about some sage too? And maybe some homemade dried bitter orange zest for balance? And some wormwood while we're at it.. And and and...

How about Vermouth Smoke?

Originally dubbed The Melancholy Heart of the Ancient Desert, maybe something a touch less dramatic was in order for all the mixed herbals involved. Elana's one to post a song of the day on Twitter, and I've started doing a once-monthly #FridayMuse series beginning with MxMo hosting duties last month, so a song seemed in order. I had thought to perhaps name the sage smoke cocktail after a similar-themed song, Horse with No Name by America, but that name was already claimed. Second best, The Distance by Live, off one of my favorite albums The Distance to Here, also worked well. The transformative smoke fit just right with the message.

Let's go to the recipe:

The Distance
1 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
1 oz añejo tequila
3/4 oz tawny port
vermouth smoke (recipe below)
1 small sprig oregano planted in a bourbon cherry for garnish

Stir the first 3 ingredients on ice.

On the lightest heat possible, gently heat the vermouth smoke tea in a tin pie plate or similar on the stove or hot plate. Collect vermouth tea fumes (even lighter than regular smoke - you want to avoid char scent and flavor in favor of the vaporized essences of the herbs you use) in a jar for several minutes. AVOID IMPATIENCE, YOU'LL MESS IT UP.

Strain the cocktail into your smoke container, swirling for 15 seconds or so.

Immediately pour into chilled cocktail glass.

Add garnish.

  • This is one of those cocktails that turned out almost-right the first go-around (a 1/4oz less port and it was just right). The original mix prior to the smoke is pretty good itself: buttery toffee, agave and warm bourbon, with port's depth. The Distance starts a little jumbled as the smoke integrates itself, but as you get into your sips, the alchemy takes over. It's difficult to say when you get beyond the initial nose, but shortly after you find a sip on your palate you swear was either vermouth or a cocktail made with vermouth. The vanillas in the barrel-aged spirits and the bit of cherry from the garnish add to the impression, but so do the herbs and the orange zest too. It seems a deeper sort of flavor melding than even, say, the emergent-unique-flavor of a Manhattan, probably because of how the smoke binds it all together into something new. As a bonus, the nature of smoke itself dries the cocktail out, and the slight bitterness of the herbs negates a need for a dash of bitters. (any herbals would get in the way of the smoke effect, frankly)
  • I would avoid a Smoking Gun here because that would require actually burning the tea - it's great for various types of wood smoke, but would blunt more delicate aromatics.
  • There's something wonderfully westernly world-weary about Buffalo Trace - it's like bourbon imbued with the dry dust on the hooves of its mascot. If you've got a bourbon like that, by all means, but otherwise I recommend this particular one. I used Don Julio añejo and Sandeman tawny port, but use as your preferences and availability allow (though a nice black pepper note on the port would be quite good here).

Vermouth Smoke Tea
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
10 dried rosemary needles
1 petal star anise
1 nickel-sized (1.5 cm diameter) piece of dried bitter/sour/Seville orange zest, chopped
1 small pinch dried wormwood
1 small pinch dried centaury

Grind all into a tea with a mortar and pestle.
By all means, omit wormwood if wary of it.

Cheers to Elana for a delicious theme and for hosting, and to Fred of cocktail virgin slut for the cat (and possibly marsupial)-herding!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sunset of September Seventh

Back last summer while prepping for the Smokemont, I made a delightful purchase of rare/offbeat fruit preserves from Smoky Mountain Farms. In addition to Smokemont's huckleberry, I also picked up bottles of mayhaw and scuppernong jellies. Leaving aside the mayhaw for now, the state fruit of North Carolina is a whiter, muskier form of muscadine grape, whose earliest cultivar may be the "Mother Vine" from Roanoke Island. The scuppernong had this mild wine-like early-autumnal taste perfect for this moment in the season.

My thoughts instantly drifted to some form of Sour cocktail, a natural when using jellies or other preserves, possibly with cognac to match or maybe woody and orchard-fruited Dad's Hat* rye whiskey. I couldn't decide, so I split the spirits, noodled around the edges, and came up with something just right for this very moment.

* any other rye whiskey is going to be a step away from tthe intended result, Dad's Hat being quite distinct in its own way.

Sunset of September Seventh
3/4 oz Dad's Hat rye whiskey
3/4 oz cognac (Ferrand Ambre)
1/2 oz reposado tequila (Cazadores)
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz scuppernong jelly
1/4 oz Drambuie
5 drops Fee Bros. black walnut bitters

Shake all on ice - hard.

Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

No garnish.

I first should note that the honor of doing a scuppernong jelly Sour goes first to B. T. Parsons for his Scuppernong Sour, from his Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All (itself a riff on Jamie Boudreau's Marmalade Sour). The germ of SoS7 was already in my mind when I got the book last fall, but it fell off for awhile until I checked on a misremembering and found his version used bourbon and egg white. That was great motivation to keep going and add in some tweaks to help this drink further stand on its own (though I did borrow the extra 1/4 oz sweet from his structure - I think the jelly's pectin negates some of its sweetness, or at least my jar's did. YMMV.).

I had started with a classic 2 : 1 : 1 structure for this sour with rye and cognac, but the base spirits seemed a bit overwhelmed by the sweet and sour elements. So I pulled both of those elements back while adding a third base, buttery highlands reposado tequila to help dry it further (but not overmuch that the agave note would stick out like a sore thumb). And these mods pretty much made the cocktail.

The overall flavor is an emergent one, but depending on the sip you get those hints of agave, or a wash on palate and nose of maple syrup and birch wood from the rye and bitters, or perhaps a view down to the copper horn of cognac on which everything rests. The egg white seemed like so much gilding with everything else going on, so I omitted it - but the jelly's pectin adds a lovely body. The scuppernong flavor itself is mild and mellow, but it dominates in its own way. I added the Drambuie instead of simple syrup to help keep with the overall "golden" aesthetic, and it helps round edges with faint herbs and scotch-smoke where they would otherwise be flat.

You get a little bit of summer in the glass from the lemon and tequila, while slowly moving into autumnal flavors with the cognac and rye. Shake up a glass for yourself today and toast the rays of gold falling on you and the ever-darkening shadows. This is the best time of year.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Impromptu - Bourbon and Aperol

Last night, I had a hankering for Bourbon and Aperol. Well, I've had an unsated hankering for whiskey all week, but rather than doing the Rumdood-suggested Sherman Cocktail, (which was my idea the night prior), I wanted bourbon and the Orange Crush-y notes of Aperol. But how to flesh out that drink?

There were a fair number of Bourbon-Aperol drinks on Kindred Cocktails to start*, but none quite met the picture in my head (A Clockwork Orange and The Lemony Pabla weren't too far-off, though). I was seeking something with the red and floral of Peychaud's bitters, which seemed like an interesting contrast to the Aperol. And some kind of wine to lengthen seemed appropriate. When all of a sudden, a new post came through from Bartending Notes on an Earl Grey MarTEAni.

*(the research always tends to take about an hour before I get a solid recipe in mind)

*ping!* Earl Grey-infused madeira. Verdelho for dryness, and a bit more body than Sercial (and exactly what I had on my counter that needed using up). 1 tea bag in 1/2 cup for 10 minutes (tops - keep tasting drops) works quite well. Make sure to wring out all the bergamot-y goodness.

Impromptu Bourbon & Aperol (& Earl Grey)
1 1/2 oz overproof Bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
1 oz earl grey-infused verdelho madeira
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Aperol
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
3 drops orange blossom water
orange zest

Stir all but the zest on ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express an orange zest over the drink, rub around the rim, and discard.

The floral soft qualities are what you encounter first with a whiff of cherry and almost a lemon or citron edge on the palate, followed by a touch of sweetness and then drying bitterness from the tea and other bitter ingredients. You seriously need at least a 100-proof bourbon for this one. 90-proof Bulleit didn't quite hold up, but Wild Turkey 101 did the trick.

I added the dry vermouth for an extra herbal quality and some lengthening to better taste all the ingredients. The orange blossom water I stole from A Clockwork Orange: the more pronounced florals, the less the cocktail resembles a Boulevardier or Old Pal -- and it's a nice augmentation to the Peychaud's and bergamot.

As always with these impromptus, dear reader, if a name strikes you I'm all ears!

Impromptus - Gin and Tonics

I've realized of late that I've gotten to a point where I can rattle off ingredients off the top of my head and turn them into pretty decent cocktails. It doesn't always work out, but I would say my hit rate is still 50% or so. And I've also realized I don't document these recipes beyond TwitPic at times, to the detriment of the blog, purely because they weren't "planned" and fought-for ideas.

But some weekends or evenings, you just want to mix a few tasty ingredients with no deeper meaning. So this will be the start of a quick-and-dirty series of those impromptu recipes successful (enough) to merit spent words. ('cause the last time I wrote up an impromptu, it took me a fiddle-faddlin' month, just for the extra stuff! No more!)

Given these recipes are so off-the-cuff, I haven't given them formal names. And the first recipe here may not warrant it, unless you think it's distinct the way a Martini and a Gibson are distinct. If you have any ideas, I'm plenty open to them!

So, for this first set of impromptus, a couple months back on a hot lazy summer Saturday (July 5th to be exact) I was playing around with the light crispness of gin & tonics. I can never leave well enough alone: there always needs to be variety, and the chance to mold a drink in different ways. To that end, two rather dissimilar G&T's, whittling down a small bottle of tonic:

Impromptu G&T #1
2 oz Tanqueray
3 oz tonic water
1 tsp absinthe (Vieux Carré)
lemon twist

Gently stir all on ice in a rocks glass. Twist lemon over top and add. Enjoy.

A bracing and heightened-herbal G&T with my favorite gin. Bone-deep refreshing. Somehow I bet this mod is the least of what the Spanish have done with their Gin Tonicas.

Impromptu G&T #2
2 oz honeydew-infused Hendrick's gin
3 oz tonic water
2 dashes amaretto
1 dash rose water
3 dashes Teapot bitters
lemon twist & honeydew melon ball for garnish

Gently stir all on ice in a rocks glass. Skewer a zest-encased melon ball as garnish.

Kitten-y soft, as my notes go. A very happy balance.

I had a small bottle of honeydew-infused Hendrick's gin for another recipe I was working on (delayed until next summer). Hendrick's doesn't take the best to infusion, probably because of the way the rose and cucumber essences are added post-distillation (they stick to the melon pieces, not the gin). Still, there were some mild ginny notes remaining and a light pale mint cotton candy-like flavor to the gin. The tonic's bitterness could prove balance to that sweetness. A few dashes of friendly notes here and there pushed it into cotton-y soft, but a bit less candy.

And, for a bonus, as I was snacking on guacamole while enjoying #2, I noticed how friendly rose water was to avocado. Not too long after, I had an impromptu recipe down for Fruited Guacamole (to which I've received raves from family & friends):

3 small avocados, diced
1 small yellow tomato (plum or otherwise), 1 shallot, 2 black plums* - broiled/grilled and diced
1/2 small cucumber, seeded & chopped
2 dates, seeded and chopped
2 packed tablespoons chopped spearmint
juice of 1 lemon
3 dashes rose water
pinch of salt

In a bowl, drizzle juice of 1/2 lemon over the diced avocado before heating/chopping the rest. Add rest of ingredients to the bowl and stir/mash to desired consistency. SCARF!

*apricots or pluots may also work nicely here

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mixology Monday LXXVI: FIRE! Round-Up!

Welcome back!

So by all accounts there was very little in the way of singed eyebrows. And for the great turn-out we had for the 76th edition of Mixology Monday, I'd call that an unqualified success! Seriously though, I'm scrolling down this list of cocktails and there is nothing but A-games. Kudos to everyone!

Also, goodnesses, half the people here must have stomachs of steel. The cocktails ranged from super-spicy to charred to smoky (but refreshing, all the same). Tiki and classic and coffee. We even had an elevated mocktail and boozy jellies, and (count'em) two videos this month! (and a couple of folks picked up on the George R.R. Martin reference in this #MxMo's announcement tweets and ran with it)

Let's get to it, shall we?

First out the gate like a bottle of wine smashed on a prow, Nick of The Straight Up was, quite fittingly, En Fuego. This cocktail is a kitchen sink of heat with serrano pepper, ginger liqueur, Hellfire Habanero shrub and mole bitters on a mezcal and Gosling's base, finished with a flamed lime twist. (whew! *passes around the hand-fans, 'cause we're just getting started*) He later followed up with the charcoal-aged Boulevardier, Smoke in the Woods, including many fiery flourishes such as a flamed spray of absinthe.

Next up, it's the return of Keith from
 theSpeakista! Keith brings us two cocktails, each utilizing a custom Fire Syrup made from cinnamon and red chili flake. The first, Setting Fire to the Rain, bears similarity to a spicy mezcal Sour, but lengthened with a light-to-medium lager. The In their defense... is a bourbon and multi-rum Old Fashioned with Fire and vanilla syrups and mole bitters.
Absolutely mouth-watering.

Over at The Shorter Straw, Raffaele crafts Charred Memories, a cocktail where virtually no ingredient is left untouched by flame. Grilled fruit juice, flamed absinthe and zests, burnt sugar syrup on a rhum agricole base. I admire how even the creole bitters finish plays into that aching and wistful presentation, and the anise and agricole pairing seem like they would carry that sentiment onto the palate as well.

Chris at A Bar Above, arrives with the first video of the session! Here he demonstrates how to make his pisco-apple sour, Apple of Discord. The fruit in question is a cinnamon-sweet bruléed apple globe.

Careful with this one. Give it to the wrong lady and before you know it you're halfway across the Pacific in a 1,000 ship flotilla without Chuck Heston or Henry Fonda as backup!

That said, methinks Tim Taylor might approve of the big gun. Jesse Ventura too.

Joel from Southern Ash blog recounts an epic Song of Ice and Fire with his The Dragon of Summer. Serrano-infused tequila, lightning-hot cinnamon whisky, and an icebound Sriracha-candied chili garnish.

Pause for a moment and consider that.

Sriracha. Candied. Chili. Garnish.

Just floating there, beguiling, daring you to take a bite out of that sucker. It looks so cool and refreshing with all that ice. Just mind the sign that says "Here there be dragonfire" before diving in!

Over at Cocktail Virgin Slut, Frederic delves into a long-classic technique of flaming drinking spirits inside spent citrus "cups", from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The bourbon-and-grapefruit Brown Derby-reminiscent, American Flambée, seems like the tip of the iceberg as far as this technique goes.

Imagine what modern bartenders could do with yuzu or sweet lime in drinks like this..

Across the state in DrinksBurgh, Mike shakes up the spiced rum Cuyahoga Fizz. As befits its oft-flaming namesake, the Cuyahoga River, the fizz is finished by torching an Angostura/brown sugar crust on top. (Amélie would gladly rap upon this with a spoon!)

Is it just me, or does anyone else want to kick back with one of these while relaxing to The Pretenders?

Elana gets her molecular mixology on at Stir and Strain with The Eyes of Angelique. The base of the aged gin cocktail gets some heat from a hot ginger shrub and is crowned by a luscious foam of pineapple, Campari and cayenne, plus a dusting of red glitter.

Then, she crafts sweet-bitter-hot Aperol and cayenne Kiss of Fire jellies. They look so adorable, you just wanna bite into one -- but then you nibble cautiously because you realize they'll bite back!

The Booze Nerds are at it again, grilling not just fruit but herbs too (I..I.. I didn't know you could do such things!).

Shaun creates a very green-vegetal The Pointilist with grilled lime and rosemary, and an intriguing hint of Branca Menta.

Christa muddles grilled nectarine (!) into the Bourbon Dawn. (nectarine's a personal fave of mine, and look at the color there!)

At Ginhound, Andrea offers up the savory Hot Rod, full of aquavit and wordplay. Bugs Bunny might be left flubbering a finger over his lips at this one: for the bright carrot juice coloring the cocktail, it hides a hidden snap from a certain spicy root. Go check it out to find out what it is, I'll bet you'll boggle to see it being added to a simple syrup too!

I like how Mike, of Grow. Eat. Mix. Drink., breaks down the ins and outs of a chili pepper infusion. Infusion times and pepper quantities can be quite deceptive in comparison to other sorts of infusions, and then mixing with different levels of heat also requires small adjustments. Discussion of this sort of thing can be immensely helpful to a neophyte wanting to avoid being burned.

To show off the infusion, Mike offers up a jalapeno-infused Paloma cocktail, the Jalapaloma.

Our second video of the event graces us from Measure & Stir. Joseph Tkach uses the format to better illustrate how to smoke a serving glass for his Lavender-Smoked Martini, fire and smoke being difficult to capture in static images. (I think I can smell the lavender through the screen, mm...)

This was a great first-time-out, and I hope you'll make more!

Next, we hop on over to Tartines to Tikis where FrogPrincesse, fresh from the festivities at Tiki Oasis in San Diego whips up a classic party-size Don the Beachcomber’s Volcano Bowl (complete with Hula Girl!). Four rums, including Lemon Hart 151 for the flame, on a base of grapefruit juice with a touch of maple syrup make this something I could enjoy sipping all autumn (especially without someone to share it with!).

The Tiki portion of our program continues at Rated R Cocktails where JFL serves up the Eruption: a flaming Pina Colada! While also a take on the Volcano Bowl, not only are flavors of pineapple and coconut added, but a healthy measure of Campari too.

While he does make note of the due caution necessary when working with flamed lime shells and overproof rum, somehow I can envision a stadium full of Tiki-philes lighting up these cocktails for a Manilow performance of One Voice. Also, Lady Liberty would probably like Tiki, wouldn't she?

The tropical flavors carry through to Stewart from Putney Farm's entry, Special-Ti'. Is it a dessert cocktail or a cocktail that's really a dessert? Either way, I imagine you'll be floating on Cloud 9 after you get done dunking your caramelized pineapple/lime zest skewers in the aged rhum agricole Ti' Punch. My elbows are going weak just reading about it.

Dagreb, of Nihil Utopia, explores technique in making a flaming coffee cocktail, Roman-style: Café Nero. Roman-style of course indicating quite possibly the most dreamy liqueur ever to come out of Italy: Galliano!

Do not forget the little marshmallows! (I am so making this in the morning. It could pair quite well with Lucky Charms..)

If you're drinking along at home, here's a brief respite. Ceccotti from Bartending Notes takes the concept of burned wine to a whole new level, crafting a mocktail for us, Burnt Wine Lemonade. It uses a burnt sugar syrup on a non-alcoholic wine or dry grape juice base. If you're not careful though, it'll take all the Doom levels right out of you and then you'll have to start over from the beginning. Be sure to keep your Doom well-regulated!

Zach, The Venture Mixologist, gets crafty and concocts a habanero Jamaican Jerk tincture for a spicy rum-sipper, Disya. This is one of those drinks that makes you scratch your head wondering why it hadn't been done yet, it's so complete a realization of jerk flavor with every ingredient. It may be just me talking here, but I can imagine the depth and subtlety King's Ginger adds over something like Canton.

Fire and Blood

Next we go on walkabout to catch up with Rafa García Febles (sometimes known as DrunkLab), nomadic cocktail guru who can be  found on eGullet and BarNotes, as well as being a powerhouse recipe source on KindredCocktails. He brings us 3 cocktails that fit the theme: The Man Comes Around with mezcal, Spanish brandy and mole bitters; Spindletop Swizzle with funky rum, blackberry shrub, velvet falernum and a burning 151 Spindletop oil gusher garnish; and Fire and Blood, an amped Blood and Sand with cayenne tincture and a flamed blood orange twist.

Death to Sour Mix's Raul delivers the second Game of Thrones-themed cocktail, Wildfire, named after a virulent magical green weapon of war that means certain death if touched by a flame (you make me very glad to have gotten through the second book!). The cocktail itself is a riff on the Old Flame, a floral/herbal egg white sour. With pisco, *STREGA!*, and violette in the cocktail, the Wildfire comes into play via flaming absinthe floated on top the foam. Incredibly daring, that.
(and now you make me wonder what a flamed meringue foam cocktail would be like.. Strega meringue pie, much?)

Over at Concoctails, Todd makes with the intriguing by mixing an all-liqueur cocktail, Heathing, a flameful and wonderfully oblique Madeline Kahn reference from Clue: The Movie. For heat, Fire Eater cinnamon whiskey liqueur was used, along with a touch of ginger honey balsamic vinegar and ginger ale lengthener.

One sip and I'm sure I'll be left going "It's twue! It's twue!"

Slipping in with a few hours to spare late in the eve, Rowen of Fogged in Lounge delights with Voice of Temptation. With apple brandy, Lemon Hart and mezcal, this tipple's fire belongs to the rum-flamed-and-caramelized apple garnish and lovely photography. What a way to wind down in the evening.


Finally, for my (MoD's/Kate's) own fire-modest 
drinks, I did two split-spirit with ouzo cocktails. The Apollo's Arrow is a tequila-centric Corpse Reviver #2 riff, the sparks from the flamed orange zest bow the namesake (with the spirit combo intended as the effect of said arrow). Gin-based highball Wind Whisperer employs a fire-indirect method for smoking teas and tisanes for a serving glass and serves as the return of my tea-in-cocktails series Ti(n)sanity!

Many many many thanks to everyone who participated, to fearless leader Fred Yarm for indefatigable cat-wrangling, and founder Paul Clarke.

See y'all back at the partybus in a month! *rubs hands together* Now to dig in and try all these recipes. Cheers!