Saturday, July 27, 2013

As Familiar as a Tetnus Shot, or Cosmopolitan vs. Rusty Nail

Hello from Michigan!  Where roads are rough, winters are rougher, and where you need a GPS and a note from mommy to turn left on a main street.  What in the world is with the roads here?  Locals tell me that once you get used to the potholes, the road construction, the tailgating, the no-fault insurance, and the Michigan Lefts, you'll be fine.  Michigan Lefts?  What in the world are Michigan Lefts?  I had to look it up, so click on the link to find out Wikipedia's explanation: Michigan Lefts.

Basically, you have to drive past the road you want to left on, then do a U-turn and drive back to the road you wanted to turn left on and turn right on to it.  They're.all.over.the.state.  What genius thought of these?  Proponents say that the collisions aren't as bad as they would be if left turns were allowed.  What they fail to recognize is that people are spending longer times on the road, which makes them more susceptible to collisions.  Plus it takes you twice as long to get anywhere.  Who can I call to point this out to?  Anyone have the Governor's number?

Anyway - back to the cocktails!  This challenge has two fantastic drinks!  By the way - if you ever have any questions about the title, don't be afraid to ask - my wife did about this one, so I told her what it meant.  Speaking of my wife, Cosmopolitans are one of her favorite drinks (these segues are getting smoother, no?).  I've actually witnessed her send one back because it wasn't mixed right - they redid it, and everything was fine.  I've also seen her call a restaurant a couple of days after having a Cosmo and asking for the specific brands that restaurant used because she enjoyed their version so much - yup, my girl knows her some Cosmos!

Cosmo without the shake
I was actually nervous when she tried this - I wasn't sure why, but I was.  She really enjoyed this version - I've already contacted the IBA, so they can announce to the masses, her pleasure with their recipe through print in their next newsletter.  I'm waiting for a thank you letter from them - I can only assume that it has been lost in the mail.

The Two Condenders
Here `tis:

1.4 oz. Citron Vodka
0.5 oz. Cointreau
0.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Cranberry Juice

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.  Strain into a chilled glass garnish with a lime slice.

Now onto the Rusty Nail - a completely different drink from the Cosmo - but how good!

About to be one of my favorite cocktails
I remember thinking that it tasted like my childhood doctor's office smelled...perhaps my childhood doctor had a problem that my parents and I weren't aware of.  I have read that Scotch can sometimes be described as "mediciny", so I guess I know what is meant by that now.

The Rusty Nail is a fantastic drink that if you haven't tried yet, you's the recipe:

Rusty Nail with a Spherical Ice Ball
Rusty Nail
1.5 oz. Scotch Whisky
0.8 oz. Drambuie

Pour liquors over ice.  Gently stir and enjoy.

So here I am again, as I was when I left California with two phenomenal drinks.  There was a tie when I left CA, and here I am with our first entry in MI - I'm thinking this should be a tie too.  So....the winners are....Cosmopolitan AND Rusty Nail!!!

The Winners!
The Ingredients
For the Cosmopolitan:
Citron Vodka - Svedka
Cointreau - Cointreau
Fresh Lime Juice
Cranberry Juice - Ocean Spray

For the Rusty Nail
Scotch Whisky - Buchanan's 12 Year
Drambuie - Drambuie

Up Next...Azov.  Or, Sea Breeze vs. Russian Spring Punch

Monday, July 15, 2013

Direct Flight from New York to New Orleans, or Clover Club vs. Sazerac

I did the Clover Club and Sazerac competition with a little bit of sorrow, and a whole lot of excitement.  It was the last duel done in California.  I had landed my "dream job" in Michigan, so the family and I have since packed our bags and moved on.  Lots of changes for us.  We actually moved in March, and I've been making entries from the past few weeks from duels I had back in January and February.  With the move and new job, it's been really hard to focus on my blog drinking...

So...Clover Club is first up to bat.  This drink, while not mentioned in the recipe, really should be dry shaken.  Dry shaking means to shake all of the ingredients without ice.  After a while, ice can be added to cool the drink.  This is done to add a foam to the top.  Now - having said all that - I didn't do this - but I should have - and so should you - and I will next time - seriously.

No dry shake = no foam =  dull Clover Club
What a great drink!  I could drink these for a while.  Here's the recipe:

Clover Club
1 1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Raspberry Syrup
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Few Drops of Egg White

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well.
Strain into cocktail glass.

Alright next up is the Sazerac - a classic drink that sailed to the USA directly from Hungary back in the year of 895 A.D. when the ancient Saze's came across with this drink, which contained a green ingredient that was made by magical pixies.  Either that or I've had too much of the magical green ingredient already tonight...

Sazerac things
The Sazerac is a fantastic drink - I can't help but think of the history behind it - it's sometimes referred to as America's oldest cocktail and is the current official cocktail of New Orleans.
1.7 oz. Cognac
0.4 oz. Absinthe
1 Sugar Cube
2 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside.
Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside.
Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the Lemon peel for garnish.


So I have a serious situation.  Two great drinks - what am I to do?  Because this is our last week in CA, I'm thinking we should have a tie - they really are both fantastic drinks - try them when you have a chance.

Lemon twist in the Sazerac

The winners!

 The Ingredients
For the Clover Club:
Gin - Citadelle
Raspberry Syrup - Torani
Fresh Lemon Juice

For the Sazerac:
Cognac - Courvoisier VS
Absinthe - St. George Absinthe Verte

Up Next...As Familiar as a Tetnus Shot, or Cosmopolitan vs. Rusty Nail

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Two Differently the Same, or Champagne Cocktail vs. Mimosa

I've read that the hip and new thing in mixology is adding beer to cocktails.  One of the reasons people like to do this is for the effervescence.  Champagne's been doing this to cocktails for years and years.  Today's entry is about two of the champagne, coincidentally enough, is named...the Champagne Cocktail.

Champagne Cocktail Ingredients
 Champagne Cocktail
3 oz. Chilled Champagne
1/3 oz. Cognac
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Sugar Cube
Orange Slice for Garnish

Add dash of Angostura bitter onto sugar cube and drop it into champagne flute. Add cognac followed by pouring gently chilled champagne.
Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

The Champagne Cocktail is unusual.  I'm not sure what was happening, but there was something I couldn't put my finger on.  It's not that I didn't like it - it just wasn't my thing.  I can see why the drink could be appreciated, but I can also see why people can appreciate Obama.  Or eating frog's legs.  Or Obama eating frog's legs.

Anyway - speaking of bridal shower breakfast foods, this leads us right into the Mimosa!  Equal parts orange juice and champagne.  How can you go wrong?  You can't.  Mimosa wins.  You're welcome.

Mimosa and Champagne Cocktail
2.5 oz. Champagne
2.5 oz. Orange Juice

Pour orange juice into flute and gently pour Champagne. Stir gently.

The Ingredients
For the Champagne Cocktail:
Champagne - Gloria Ferrer
Cognac - Courvoisier VS

For the Mimosa:
Champagne - Gloria Ferrer
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brazil for Spring Break, or Caipirinha vs. Sex on the Beach

Hello and welcome to this rendition!

 I'm reminded of waiting on a gift for a birthday for a long time, and then getting it, and wished I hadn't.  The Caipirinha is a unique tasting drink that I had looked forward to - it's the national cocktail of Brazil. No offense to my Brazilian friends, but...really?   I'd rather drink something non-alcoholic than the Caipirinha (did I really just type that?). To me, it's obviously the Leblon I dislike, so perhaps a different type of cachaça would change my mind on at the Caipirinha...a very acquired taste. Wow...any suspense on which drink won this round?

The two contenders

1.7 oz. Cachaça
half fresh lime cut into 4 wedges 
2 teaspoon sugar

Place lime and sugar in old fashion glass and muddle.
Fill glass with ice and Cachaça

Ingredients for Sex on the Beach
And now onto Sex on the Beach.  <Insert your own joke here.>  One of my favorite drinks when I was younger was the Fuzzy Navel - this has some of the ingredients in it, and some people put vodka in their Fuzzy Navels (maybe to try and cure the fuzziness..haha...ha. Ha.  Sorry.)

Sex on the Beach
1.4 oz. Vodka
0.7 oz. Peach Schnapps
1.4 oz. Cranberry Juice
1.4 oz. Orange Juice

Build all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice.

Sex on the Beach <viewer discretion advised>
From its name, you'd think it was a shot, but it's not.  I enjoyed Sex on the Beach <Insert your own joke here.>, so the clear winner this round is Sex on the Beach!

The Ingredients
For the Caipirinha:
Cachaça - Leblon
Fresh Lime juice

For Sex on the Beach:
Vodka - Prairie Organic 
Peach Schnapps - DeKuyper Peachtree
Cranberry Juice - Store Brand
Fresh Orange Juice

Up Next -  Two Differently the Same, or Champagne Cocktail vs. Mimosa

Friday, April 5, 2013

Side Trip #4 - Gin & Tonic vs. Cuba Libre

Hi there!  So remember in the Bacardi vs. Cuba Libre challenge, I mentioned that the Cuba Libre was "Gin & Tonic" refreshing, and that I'd have to A/B them sometime to see just how refreshing it is?

Well this is that A/B test. I'm glad I did it.  I planned this one out, and did it after working an eight and a half hour shift, and getting off work at 11:30PM .  I came home and set up shop. They were both incredibly - and equally - refreshing.

 I really couldn't discern which was more refreshing.  So ultimately, the answer ya want sweet refreshment or sour refreshment?  The Cuba Libre will give you sweet, and the Gin & Tonic will give you sour...I'm sure you figured that out already though :).

Both equally as refreshing

Gin and Tonic on the left, and Cuba Libra on the right
Gin & Tonic
2 oz. Gin
3 oz. Tonic
1 quarter of a Lime

Combine gin and tonic over ice cubes in an old fashioned glass and stir.  Squeeze a quarter of a lime into the glass and drop it in.

Cuba Libre
1.7 oz. White Rum
4 oz. Cola
0.3 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Build all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.
The Ingredients
For the Gin & Tonic:
Gin: Citadelle
Tonic: Schweppes

For the Cuba Libre 
White Rum: Don Q Cristal
Cola: Coca Cola (Coke)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bushes for the Ghost, or Bramble vs. Bloody Mary

A bramble, by any other name, would be bush, boscage, dingle, undergrowth, etc.  Bloody Mary, you remember hearing, when you were a kid, that if you starred into a mirror in a dark room and uttered a name over and over and over and over, that you'd see a ghost?  Remember what that name was?  Bloody Mary?  Well maybe for you it was, but for me, it was actually Lois Klinderbërgen.  If you'd say her name over and over and over and over, she would appear in the mirror holding a half eaten pear tart...but!   Get ready for it...she had eaten all of the ice cream!!!  I know, horrifying, right?!?!?  Especially for a wee child of 11 or 12 years of age with a voracious appetite for dairy.

Hmm...maybe I'm putting too much energy into the titles...

Okay...the bramble - why haven't I heard of this before?  It's basically a gin sour with a little bit of crème de mure in it.  It's fantastic!  I'm surprised that I haven't seen it on more restaurant menus.  Do yourself a favor and try this!

Bramble ingredients (simple syrup in an old Elmer T. Lee bottle)

1.4 oz. Gin
0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
0.3 oz. Simple Syrup
0.5 oz. Crème de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)

Build over crushed ice, in a rock glass.
Stir, then pour the blackberry liqueur over the top of the drink in a circular fashion.
Garnish with a lemon slice, and two blackberries.

Bloody Mary and the Bramble

And now onto the Bloody Mary.  I'm not sure what it is about tomato juice based drinks, but I just don't like them...nothing personal against tomatoes...I like them...just not with alcohol.  So we have an easy winner with the Bramble in this match (my apologies to vegetables everywhere).

Bloody Mary ingredients

Bloody Mary
1.5 oz. Vodka
3 oz. Tomato Juice
0.5 oz. Lemon Juice
2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Celery salt

Stir gently, pour all ingredients into highball glass. Garnish with celery and lemon wedge (optional). 

 Again, the clear winner is the Bramble - an excellent cocktail - if you have a chance, give it a try!

Bramble - the winner!
The Ingredients

For the Bramble:
Gin - Citadelle
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Homemade Simple Syrup
Blackberry Liqueur - Drillaud

For the Bloody Mary:
Vodka - Prairie Organic Vodka
Tomato Juice - Campbell's
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Worcestershire Sauce - Store Brand
Tabasco Sauce - starring as itself
Celery Salt - McCormick

Friday, February 15, 2013

Passengers to the Republic, or Sidecar vs. Singapore Sling

Passengers to the Republic - wasn't that a movie with Jimmy Stewart?  No?  What am I thinking of?  Hmm...

Okay, so you know from the last match that the Sidecar loses by default.  Sorry - I just don't like Sidecars.  I know there are the cocktail elite out there that have probably discounted my blog because I said this (wait - haha - they probably did that the first time they read my blog - hahaha), but it's just too bitter for me.  So here's the recipe:

1.7 oz. Cognac
0.7 oz. Triple Sec
0.7 oz. Lemon Juice

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Sidecar Ingredients

Now with that all behind us, this next cocktail is a real treat. This is why I started the blog.  The Singapore Sling is a perfectly balanced drink - nothing over powers anything else in it.  Not too much alcohol, not too much fruit juice - everything is balanced.  What I don't know is why mine wasn't quite as red as ones I've seen in pictures.  If anyone has a suggestion, leave a comment.

Singapore Sling
1 oz. Gin
0.5 oz. Cherry Liqueur
0.25 oz. Cointreau
0.25 oz. DOM Bénédictine
4 oz. Pineapple Juice
0.5 oz. Lime Juice
0.3 oz. Grenadine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well.
Strain into highball glass.
Garnish with pineapple and cocktail cherry.

Singapore Sling Things

The drink calls for pineapple juice.  I don't have a juicer, but I read online that you can juice a pineapple with a blender, so I assembled everything together, and got to blendin'.  It worked great! 

Pineapple in a blender

Pineapple through a sieve to separate the solids from the juice (an incredibly lengthy process)

Pineapple through the sieve, in the process of yielding about six ounces
 It took me about an hour to juice 1 pineapple, and yielded about 6 ounces, but yes, you definitely, and without a doubt, can juice a pineapple with your blender.  Will I ever do it again?  Absolutely not!

Pineapple on the edge
The obvious winner is the Singapore Sling!  I would order (and have since) ordered this in a club.  A friend of mine ordered it, and the bartender used Maraschino instead of Cherry Liqueur - BIG difference!

By the way, did you get the title reference?  Singapore is a Republic unto itself - I didn't know that until I did this blog - look at me learning and everything!


For the Sidecar
Cognac - Landy VS
Triple Sec - Cointreau
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

For the Singapore Sling
Gin - Citadelle
Cherry Liqueur - Luxardo Cherry Liqueur
Cointreau - starring as itself
D.O.M. Bénédictine - starring as itself
Freshly Blended Pineapple Juice
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
Homemade Grenadine