rum

Whiskey and I are on a Break

Whiskey and I are on a Break

This post is sponsored by Bacardi Añejo Cuatro. The thoughts and recipe are my own.

I’ve always thought of myself as a whiskey girl. I've never been shy about it. But I feel that it's time for me to start seeing other spirits. And I’m starting with Rum.

I admit that I've never truly given rum a chance. In the past, whenever I’ve thought to make a rum cocktail my mind immediately went to a mojito or daiquiri. But I’ve decided that if I’m going to truly accept Rum into my life, I need to break with tradition. 

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Coffee Flavored Syrup

Coffee Flavored Syrup

A coffee infused simple syrup that you'll be adding to everything. Ask any coffee addict and they'll tell you. What's better than coffee? More coffee! 

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Aviation with a Layover

It’s my birthday weekend! Four days (starting Friday, ending Monday) of celebrating Nikki. It’s time to don the birthday girl tiara, with its pinching pain that can only be cured with booze, and live it up.

As I’ve gotten older my birthday has become less about quantity and more about quality. It’s the quality of family and friends that surround me. The quality of birthday cake (and certainly not the quantity of candles.) Its the quality of drinks I choose to imbibe.

Hubby I recently restocked our home bar. On the bar are now various aperitifs and digestifs. I did however forget to restock the sweet vermouth. Which of course meant that every drink I’ve considered trying this past week involved sweet vermouth, driving me to scream out in frustration every time. Don’t know if its a matter of being lazy or cheap because I can’t bring myself to travel 30 minutes to the discount liquor warehouse to save $5-$10 but don’t want to spend more than I think I should at the store downstairs. First world problems, I know. And yes, I’m lucky enough to live in an apartment building with a spirits store (and food court) attached. I’m also married to a produce broker. What more could a cocktailian ask for?

As I stocked my bar this past week, I couldn’t help but notice how my tastes have changed as I’ve gotten older. My late twenties were during the height of the flavored vodka craze, thus my bar contained every flavor from apple pie to pumpkin, from froot loops to s’mores. My bar is now more diverse, though there’s still a bottle of butterscotch schnapps cause a girl likes to get her sweet on every now and then.

When people ask me what my favorite drink is it’s hard for me to answer. Its constantly changing. When I was 28 it was the Espresso Martini. When I hit 30 it was the Dirty Martini. Today its the Aviation.

Aviation

 

 

Aviation

2 oz Gin

.75 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur

.24 oz Creme de Violette

Recipe from The PDT Cocktail Book

 

 

I can not effectively try to express to you as to why I love an Aviation. Believe me I have tried. It’s difficult to explain and only becomes more difficult after a few Aviations. It’s the soft muted violet-grey color. It’s the dry tartness of the gin and lemon. It’s the faint sweetness or the maraschino liqueur and creme de violette. It’s...everything.

No doubt an Aviation will make its debut during my birthday festivities. And when it does, it will be a very happy birthday indeed.

Don't like gin? Check out my variation with rum.

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Layover

2 oz Rum

.75 oz Lime Juice

.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur

.5 oz Creme de Violette

 

Sunday Cocktails: Shrubs

This week I decided to try my hand at making a shrub. What is a shrub? It’s the combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar to make a syrup.

Why would I want to drink a cocktail with vinegar? Let’s talk a bit about vinegar and its effects on a beverage. I’ll try my best to avoid any shrubbery jokes. I’ll try but can’t make any promises.

Vinegar:

  • fermented sugar and water.

  • 5% acetic acid

  • Kills bacteria & microorganisms.

Shrubs are an old form of canning. By adding vinegar you stall the spoilage process. The idea of adding alcohol to create a beverage is centuries old, but forgotten until recent years. Not only does it help to preserve, it also helps to deliver flavor.

Your lips probably purse just thinking about vinegar. Vinegar excites an immediate reaction to our mouths. It has a very noticeable mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel is the sensation in the mouth caused by a food or beverage. It’s how your mouth physically reacts when you taste something. The flavor, the viscosity (or thickness), the texture; all help to contribute to the mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel is something we don’t usually think about and often neglect. It’s important to think about because it aids in how we enjoy what we’re eating. Let’s say you just finished an awesome sandwich. What are you going to wash it down with, water? Is that water going to be as satisfying as the carbonation of a glass of cola or a beer? Why do we crave the thickness of milk after eating something sweet? It all attributes to the stimulation we experience due to the mouthfeel. It just feels good.

Perhaps this is why using shrubs in a beverage is so satisfying yet perplexing. Our brains are not programed to think of vinegar as being refreshing. I trust that you’re not going to be taking swigs of vinegar any time soon.

The vinegar in a shrub attributes two things to a cocktail.

  1. There’s now a tang, a sharpness, that isn’t there with simple syrup. It stimulates the tongue with more intensity thus delivering more flavor.

  2. It modifies the viscosity of the drink, if only slightly. This makes for a smoother cocktail. The small adjustment in weight feels good against the tongue. (The same happens when you make a beverage using egg whites.)

I could continue on with my theories or we could get to making some drinks. Let’s make some cocktails.

 

Blueberry Thyme Shrub

  .5 cup Blueberries

   2 tsp Thyme

.33 cup Red Wine Vinegar

.33 cup Simple Syrup

Store macerated blueberries, thyme, vinegar and syrup in a air tight container up to one week. Shake daily. Strain before serving.

This recipe is for a small shrub *giggle*. I had some blueberries in the fridge that I'd forgotten about. I literally threw everything together in 2 minutes. 

The flavor will change the longer you let your shrub sit. I stored mine for one week before use.

After a week I strained off the berries and thyme using a french press. So much easier than using cheese cloth and a wire strainer.

I instantly decided that I wanted to make an egg white cocktail. I love the foam and the almost creamy texture. And topping it with club soda tones down the shrubs, making for a refreshing beverage.

Blueberry Thyme Fizz

1.5 oz Rum

 1 oz Blueberry Thyme Shrub

.5 oz Cointreau

  .5 oz Lemon Juice

        1 Eggwhite

           Few dashes Lavender bitters

Dry shake with eggwhites. Shake with ice. Strain. Top with club soda.

So the next time you're out and you see a shrub cocktail on the menu, I hope you'll give it a try. It might surprise you how much you'll like it. 

Imbibe Happily,

Nikki

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Cocktail: Watermelon Punch

It's watermelon season!

Watermelons have such a light and refreshing flavor that makes them perfect for making cocktails.

Watermelon Mojito. Watermelon Margarita. Watermelon Gin Fizz. It works with nearly any spirit and is the perfect embodiment of Summer.

My produce guy hubby introduced me to Personal Watermelons this week. A small watermelon that's seven to eight inches in diameter and approximately 4-6 pounds in weight. Even with a small watermelon, I knew that no matter what I made I was going to have a lot of it. So I opted to make a punch.

Step 1: I trimmed a little off the bottom of the watermelon to make it flat. I'm going to be using the watermelon as a bowl later, so I don't want it rolling away.

Step 2: Cut a little off the top, about 1/4 of the way down. Then hollow out the body with an ice cream scoop.

Step 3: Place the watermelon flesh inside a colander over a large bowl. Then, using a potato masher, squeeze out juice. 

Step 4: Strain the juice into a pitcher to remove any seeds. I was able to get about 20oz. of juice from on 4lb watermelon.

Now for the actual recipe:

Watermelon Punch

16 oz. of Watermelon Juice

4 oz. Rum

1.5 oz Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and water shaken)

3 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Lime (Juiced)

Stir with ice. Strain into watermelon shell.

You may be surprised to learn that watermelon + vanilla + lime is a great flavor combination (I was).

You'll be even more surprised that you can't taste the rum (especially if its good rum). It's so subtle that you might be tempted to add more (who am I to judge?).

Insert two straws and share with a friend. Or keep it all to yourself like I did. I foresee this being a great addition to a future pool side party.

Tune in later this week when I reveal what I did with the left over watermelon flesh. We waste nothing here at Cocktail Crafty.

Happy Imbibing!

-Nikki