Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mixology Monday, January 2015: Blue

Shoo-blue, shoo-be-doo.
Shoo-blue, shoo-bley-waaaahh..
In the still...of the niiiiiight.
I-ey was, kinda tiight..


Good evenin' everyone. We're finally back for the new year with a little ditty for January's MxMo, hosted this month by the ever-inventive Andrea of Ginhound. Our theme? BLUE.
January needs a bit of color - or perhaps the month after all the holiday mania makes you feel.....blue?

Either way this months Mixology Monday is a chance to live those emotions out.

You can dazzle us with a brilliant blue drink or you can share that blue feeling with a melancholic drink?

Blue has been predicted as a new cocktail trend several times in recent years, and I have seen it on several menus, but more as a ironic statement than wholeheartedly love. I will say however that the Shark I had this October at PDT tasted like love to me.

But any mixer of blue drinks is faced with a bit of a dilemma as there is nothing “natural” about E133 - the most common of blue food colors: Do I really want to mix chemicals into my prefect mixture of fresh juices and good booze.

Feel free to interpret blue as freely as you wish - if natural is the way you want to go blueberries, violets, cornflower or red cabbage could be good ingredients to work with.

Me? I just started my homemade blue curacao - as seen in the photo above. And I am prepared to go all in with E133.
When active, click this link to see what blue into the round-up post.

A wintry cocktail accented by Spanish bitters had been on my mental to-do list for some time, something light and fluffy-white or perhaps clear. So, this seemed a perfect opportunity to whip one up. How I connected that to blue cocktails? Not entirely sure. My head tends to work too fast for me to keep up so I just let it do its thing and take notes, however incomprehensible at times.

But, to extend onto the Blue theme, I figured first that a lovely Alexander-type cocktail would meet that mental image (and be perfect for later in the week, January 31st being National Brandy Alexander Day) -- and a scrumptious buttery 100% blue agave reposado tequila (preferably from the highlands) would be a good anchor (ciao, Dagreb!). Granted, a reposado tequila Alexander isn't a new idea (see the Feisty Alexander, Stardust Cocktail), but something within that scheme that side-steps the cacao has its possibilities.

To that, while Galliano is a fave, would be an interesting tweak on the normal creme de cacao and would pair decently with the reposado, it just didn't calmly intone "cerulean blue" and give me the mental push to go further. It was a tad too sweet, to be honest. Instead I ended up going with something much more thematic: homemade blueberry liqueur last seen at a much earlier MxMo (yes, it's held up with a rich blueberry flavor all this time). Still sweet, but much less treacly.

To finally take it over-the-top, I pulled out a buried ace: butterfly pea tea for a real blue color (no curacao needed! your mileage may vary) first employed on a dare way back when.

The berries, violet and citrus of the Spanish bitters suddenly started making lots of sense. And a fresh grating of cinnamon over top brought out the blueberries like brown eyeliner for blue eyes.

Blue Light Special (thanks Mr. DiPippa)
1 1/2 oz butterfly pea tea-infused reposado tequila
1 oz half 'n half
1 oz blueberry liqueur
1 dash Spanish bitters
light dusting of cinnamon for garnish

Shake the liquids on light ice until quite frothy.

Pour into chilled serving glass.

Grate fresh cinnamon over top.

On the nose you get cinnamon-agave-cream and blueberries like fresh-baked blueberry bread.

On the palate, earthy blueberry roundness, cream and buttery agave, lace-like flavor intrigue from the bitters, and a cinnamon finish.

Sooo... while I was aiming for a nice pastel blue color here, I ended up with something a bit more gray-purple. Like most blue food-related items, butterfly pea tea has a litmus-like quality in that exposure to acids will shift its color towards red. I thought I had enough base with the half 'n half, but apparently the reddish blueberry liqueur had enough pull. And, it kinda depends on the lighting - this particular drink pictured could trend towards a pale cornflower blue in the right light. Chalk it up to melancholy-blue then?

Huge thanks to Andrea for an evocative theme and for shouldering hosting duties for the third time in a year! Big cheers also to Fred for fighting to keep everyone's favorite internet cocktail party going yet another month. Getting close to MxMo C!

Cyan-ara everyone!