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!