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Doc Elliott's Mixology by Garybelliott - 1w ago

I enjoy paring cocktails with food, especially if creating a new drink.  We were serving salmon and asparagus the other day.  Since asparagus does not pare with any wine, this seemed the perfect opportunity for a cocktail!  Cue the Flavor Bible.  (If you cook, and or make cocktails, you need this book!)  I simply looked up salmon and asparagus comparing them for complementary flavors in common.  I chose thyme, lemon and carrots.  Yes, carrots.

Fish in general tastes best with a light, dry beverage.  Heavy or sweet can hide some of the subtle flavors inherent to fish.  In this case, I chose a gin martini.  You could substitute vodka for the gin, but you will lose the herbal notes that work so well.  I selected Ki No Bi gin for its flavors of kumquat, orange oil, juniper, spice and a slight bitterness of wormwood.  I used Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie that has an intense bright taste of carrots.  Lemon peel expressed over the drink and fresh thyme as a garnish completed the complementary flavors.

The Mad Hatter Martini

As noted above, I used Ki No Bi gin.  Your favorite gin will work quite nicely in the cocktail.  I would avoid the highly herbal gins as they might overpower the subtle carrot.  If you find this too bitter for your taste, decrease the amount of vermouth or make it a perfect with 1/2 bianco vermouth.

The nose is thyme, lemon and citrus.  First flavors are clean, herbal, with a touch of spice.  Then you note subtle carrots and juniper.  The finish is long and dry.

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Premium dry vermouth (or 1/4 oz dry & 1/4 oz. bianco vermouth)
  • 1/4 oz. Reisetbauer Carrot Eau de Vie
  • 2-3 drops Bitter Truth Olive Bitters
  • Lemon peel for expressing
  • Fresh thyme for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel for garnish (optional)
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine the gin, vermouth, eau de vie and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard
  5. Spank the thyme and float it on the dried lemon peel

Cheers!

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When we host a party, my wife often tells me she wants a cocktail(s) that will pair with food “X” for which she can coordinate a name, even the colors she wants.  This time she wanted a cocktail with tequila and pineapple.  While there are a few delicious, classic pineapple/tequila cocktails, most of these drinks are sweet and poorly balanced.  Now I’ll digress!

You can download this spread sheet, Pineapple Simple Sour, follow the directions and skip the explanation below.  Then just jump down to the recipe here.

The problem you encounter when you substitute one juice for another in a cocktail, especially if you swap a citrus for a non-citrus juice, is loss of balance.  The drink easily becomes too sweet, (the most frequent result), too sour (acidic), too bitter, too strong or too weak.  The example for this cocktail is pineapple juice, but this discussion is equally true of orange, strawberry, apple or practically any juice.  When you substitute all or part of lime or lemon juice with pineapple juice, you are decreasing the primarily acidic and not very sweet lime/lemon juice and adding the sweet and not as acidic pineapple juice.  Lime juice is 6% acid and 1.5% sugar, while pineapple juice is 0.8% acid and 10% sugar.  Let’s say that you have a cocktail that is:

  • 2 parts Spirit (45%  ABV)
  • 2 parts Lime juice

The above drink will have an ABV of 22.5% and will be 3% acid and 0.75% sugar … and will not be very good.  If you were to add 2 parts pineapple juice, your drink will have an ABV of 15%, and will be 2% acid and about 4% sugar.  While adding pineapple juice to the above drink would probably be an improvement, it will still be a completely different cocktail.  Now, think about the above with 1 part simple syrup.  Figuring out how to maintain the cocktails sweet/sour balance quickly becomes mind numbing.

Dave Arnold extensively covers all of this in his book, Liquid Intelligence.   A book I highly recommend.  His suggestion for solving the above substitutions is to add acid to the juice to make it equal in acidity to lime juice.  Then you can sub away.  I heard Dave speak at this year’s San Antonio Cocktail Conference.  In addition to discussing the above, Dave covered creating fruit juice syrup with the same sugar content by weight as 1:1 simple syrup.  It is not uncommon for a cocktail to be 20% simple syrup.  That means a 20% dilution.  If you use a fruit simple syrup, you will still be diluting the ABV and acidity, but you’ll at least be enforcing the fruit flavor.  This is all a whole lot easier than it sounds.

Acidifying Fruit Juice

Lime juice has both citric and malic acids.  So, to acidify a juice, you need only know the percent acid in that juice and subtract that from 6% (the acid content of lime juice).  Since pineapple juice is 0.8% acid, 6%-0.8% = 5.2%.  To acidify a liter of pineapple juice, you will add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  Pineapple juice has a highly variable quantity of pulp, even if you filter it.  This means that 1 liter of pineapple juice will actually weigh more than 1 Kg.  However, it usually makes little difference, so you can just measure out 1 liter of juice and add 32 gm of citric acid and 20 gm of malic acid.  The spread sheet above, actually asks you to weigh 1 cup of juice because it also calculates your pineapple simple syrup.

Making Pineapple Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 part sugar in 1 part water.  This should be by weight, though it’s frequently made by volume.  The issue with making a syrup from fruit juice is that the juice already contains sugar.  Adding the full quantity of sugar by weight or by volume will result in a syrup that is too sweet, thus easily unbalancing your cocktail.  To avoid this, you need to know the weight of sugar in the juice and the weight of the liquid – which will equal the weight of the sugar to make 1:1.  If you’re using bottled juice, just look at the label to see the weight of sugar in a “serving” of the juice.   The weight of sugar per volume will vary by brand.  The nutritional chart shown here indicates that 240 ml of juice contains 30 grams of sugar.  If you’re using fresh juice, consult the Google!  So to use this juice:

  1. Weigh 240 ml of juice in grams
  2. Subtract 30 grams (the weight of sugar in that juice) to calculate the weight of liquid.
  3. The weight of the liquid will equal the weight of sugar needed.  But you already have 30 grams of sugar.  So subtract 30 from the calculated weight of liquid to equal the weight of additional sugar needed.

So by example:

  1. Lets say the 240 ml of juice weighed 250 grams
  2. The liquid weight will equal: 250-30 = 220 grams
  3. You need 220 grams of sugar.  But, you already have 30 grams.
  4. Therefore, the weight of additional sugar needed will equal 220-30 = 190 grams.

Or you can use the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour


The Ghost of Birthdays Past

The only extra tool you will need for this is a digital kitchen or postal scale that will measure in grams.  You can purchase one from Amazon here.  You will also need to purchase citric and malic acid, also available from Amazon.

The name of this cocktail is derived from Ghost Tequila and the fact that I made the drink for my birthday!  The flavors are pineapple and the tequila with the Ghost Tequila bringing just a touch of heat.  You can alter the amount of Ghost Tequila to adjust the spiciness to fit your taste.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz. Ghost Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. Silver tequila such as Milagro
  • 2 1/2 oz. Acid adjusted pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Simple Syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
  1.  To make the Acidified Pineapple juice and the pineapple simple syrup, refer to the spread sheet: Pineapple Simple Sour
  2. Chill a large, stemmed glass with ice and water
  3. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
  4. Shake to chill
  5. Double strain into chilled glass

Cheers!

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I fell in love with Suze at first taste.  The full-bodied citrus and herbs and the long spicy, bitter finish had me!  I frequently use it as a modifier to add richness and a little herbal bitterness to various cocktails.  Almost a secret ingredient.

I created this cocktail to highlight the flavors of Suze.  After trying multiple styles of gin, I settled on Navy Strength Plymouth Gin.  Various London dries and Botanist were also very good.  I further experimented with vermouth.  Sweet vermouth alone does not work well.  A premium dry or a “perfect” with dry and bianco are best.

I’ve been making variations of this cocktail for a few years.  Only recently have I added Bigallet’s Thym.  While totally optional, the Thym enhances the woody notes of the Suze and prolongs the herbal flavors into the finish.  Just remember that the Thym is the modifier here.  More than 3 or 4 drops will result in a powerful taste of thyme.  The nose is lemon and faint herbs.  The first flavors are herbal and a touch woody.  Juniper follows with continued herbs and just a hint of thyme.  The finish is herbal, spicy and clean

  • 2 oz. Navy Strength Gin (Plymouth)
  • 1 oz. Premium Dry Vermouth such as Carpano
  • 1/2 oz. Suze
  • 3-4 drops Bigallet’s Thym (or half a bar spoon) – optional
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  • Dried lemon wheel and/or sprig of fresh thyme for garnish – optional
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the garnishes, in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express lemon peel over drink and discard
  5. If using, dress up your cocktail with the dried lemon wheel, spank the thyme and float it on the lemon wheel.

Cheers!

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Doc Elliott's Mixology by Garybelliott - 8M ago

Bourbon goes with many things, but apples, cinnamon and chocolate top my pairings list.   For the bourbon in this cocktail, I used Ranger Creek’s .36 Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey which gently nips but doesn’t bite.  It brings the flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of oak.  If you choose a different bourbon, I suggest something that isn’t overly smooth.  I used Bigallet China-China Amer as a modifier.  Alone, this liqueur tastes of bitter orange, citrus, and cherries with an earthy, root touch similar to cola, (think bourbon and coke).  I added the bitters for complexity and to introduce chocolate, additional cinnamon and a bit of dried fruit from the fig bitters.

John Dandy

The nose of this Manhattan-esque cocktail is bright orange, fruit, vanilla and cinnamon.  The initial flavors are apple, vanilla with a touch of oak, followed by chocolate, dried fruit and a bit of spice.  The earthy tone comes late and the finish is fruit, spice, cinnamon and vanilla.  As noted below, don’t get this cocktail too sweet.

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
  • 1/4 oz. Bigallet China-China Amer
  • 1-2 dashes 2:1 Demerara simple syrup – depending on the sweetness of your maraschino cherries
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 1 dash Brooklyn Hemispherical Black Mission Fig Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
  1. Chill a coup or other stemmed cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a mixing glass with ice
  3. Stir to chill and strain into chilled glass
  4. Express orange peel and discard
  5. Add cherry

Cheers!

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Well, we have chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered everything else so why not chocolate covered rum? I made a chocolate simple syrup with coconut nectar and drinking chocolate.  It is really deeply chocolate and very thick.  This cocktail has the flavor of rum and coconut but the dark chocolate predominates.  The spice of the chipotle and bitters keeps the sweetness at bay.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup – Recipe here
  • 2 pinches chipotle powder
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass and serve

Cheers!

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This is like eating a 97% cacao chocolate bar.  Only a touch sweet.  You can use this as a substitute for Simple Syrup in any cocktail that has chocolate.  For some examples of chocolate cocktails using this syrup go here.  If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

  • 1 oz. Water
  • 1 oz. Coconut nectar or sub honey
  • 4 tbls. Dagoba Drinking Chocolate mix.  You can substitute another brand but I used 130% of the amount to make 1 cup of drinking chocolate.
  • 1 tbls. Sugar or to taste.
  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
  2. Cool slightly before use.
  3. If it’s too thick, add some hot water.
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Doc Elliott's Mixology by Garybelliott - 9M ago

When I think of a dessert drink, my mind usually lands first on coffee. When I think of dessert, chocolate usually wins, (like everyone else, right?). So, my dessert cocktails frequently incorporate coffee and chocolate.  My list of after dinner drinks includes several sweet cocktails.  I prefer my dessert cocktail to be not overly sweet.  That’s probably because, while I might start out thinking the cocktail is my dessert, I usually end up eating something sweet as well.  So, I like dessert cocktails that do double duty as a stand alone dessert or as an accompaniment to a dessert, (read chocolate cake).

The Nectar de Café uses apricot brandy, amaretto, Ancho Reyes, crème de cacao, molé bitters and coffee syrup.  I used Kinsman Rakia for the apricot brandy.  Depending on the brand you use, you may want to adjust the sweetness.  The coffee syrup is house made, (go here for the simple recipe),  but you can use whatever brand you like for your cold coffee.

Nectar de Café

This cocktail is a touch on the sweeter side.  It alone can be dessert, but not so much that you couldn’t enjoy it with your favorite sugary delight, (chocolate cake).  The nose is sweet apricot, tropical fruit and coffee.  The taste is fruit, coffee with background of nuts, chocolate and chilies.  It doesn’t taste as sweet as your nose told you it would.  The finish is chocolate and coffee.  Shaking the drink creates the coffee foam and gives the cocktail a pleasant mouth feel.  After shaking and double straining into the glass, let it sit for about 30 seconds to allow the foam to form and the drink to clear.

  • 1 oz. Apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. Cold coffee syrup
  • 3/4 oz. White crème de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. Ancho Reyes Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Amaretto
  • 4-5 drops molé bitters
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to chill and create a foam – about 30 seconds.
  3. Double strain into the chilled cocktail glass
  4. Let the drink sit for about 30 seconds to allow the foam to form and the to drink clear.

Cheers!

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I prefer to make cold coffee cocktails with cold brewed coffee.  Our coffee cocktails will work with whatever coffee syrup you like to use for cold coffee.  I usually make this syrup using Starbucks Sumatra dark roast.
  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely ground coffee
  • 5 cups water
  1. Combine coffee and water in a container stir well and let sit for 12 hours at room temperature.
  2. Strain, first through a fine mesh filter, then through a paper filter
  3. Keeps refrigerated for 1-2 weeks

To make cold coffee combine 1:3 or 1:4 coffee syrup to cold water.

Cheers!

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Doc Elliott's Mixology by Garybelliott - 9M ago

Mixology Monday

Slán, in Gaelic, roughly translates to “goodby”.  That is the theme for this Month’s Mixology Monday.  It’s over.  It’s done.  Kaput.  So now is goodby to the World’s Best Online Cocktail Party. Hosted by our leader and fearless cat herder, Frederic Yarm of the Cocktail Virgin Slut blog, the actual theme for the final Mixology Monday is the Irish Wake.  A most appropriate way to say, “Slán”

Wow! Mixology Monday I, April, 2006.  Almost 11 years ago.  Back then, you probably had a Motorola RAZR with 5 MB of memory and a VGA camera.  Trendy people had a Nokia Chocolate.  Or, if you were into taking pictures, you might have had a Sony Erickson with a whopping 3.0 megapixel camera!  You listened to music on your iPod but there were no iPhones.  No. 9 Park, Milk & Honey, Employees Only and Bourbon & Branch were cranking out the cocktails we love, but they weren’t using St. Germain.  It would be a year before that was introduced.  How things change.

It would be interesting to know how many cocktails were posted and how many individuals participated in the 115 Mixology Mondays since April, 2006.  I’ve participated for only a little over 2 years.  I’ve always looked forward to it and had the privilege of hosting twice.  I will miss Mixology Monday.

For me, toasting to someone’s memory calls for a shot. Unfortunately, I have raised a glass for several family members and friends that left us.  Some were far too young.  The one Mixology Monday I missed over the past two years was when a close friend died and I wasn’t feeling too creative.  But an essential part of a wake is to celebrate the life that’s ended.

I find that creating a new shot is a bit difficult.  While you can sip a shot, they are by nature made to be downed quickly.  This means that you’re not going to savor the flavors.  So subtlety is out the window.  Plus, shots are generally not served cold.  This means that sweet, sour and salt are dramatically different.

I usually try not to get too esoteric or or use a bunch of ingredients in my cocktails.  This time I’ve done both.  The Slán combines Irish whiskey, fernet, blood orange liqueur, Pineau des Charentes and Punt e Mes infused with coffee and roasted cocoa nibs.  The infusion only took an hour, but it does need to be made in advance.  When you offer someone a shot, it matters how much effort you put into its preparation.

Slán

All of these ingredients are very good as stand alone drinks.  I think that Jameson has developed some really amazing whiskeys and their Black Barrel is one of the best.  The Luxardo Fernet is one of my favorites.  It is a touch sweeter than most.  I had to mess with the Punt e Mes adding coffee and a touch of chocolate.  I’ve only recently started using Solerno, but I’m intrigued with the blood orange.  The Penau des Charence adds a touch of sweetness and richness from the cognac.

Even though this is a shot and goes down quickly, there is a lot going on.  The nose is Irish Whiskey, with the distinct caramel and malt of the Black Barrel, there is also vanilla and herbs.  The taste is caramel and toffee from the Jameson with sweetness from the Penau with a background of bitterness from the Punt e Mes and the Fernet.  There is also coffee, orange and touch of woodiness from the Jameson and the Fernet, especially on the finish.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz. Coffee & Roasted Cocoa Nib Infused Punt e Mes – see below
  • 1/4 oz. Penau des Charence
  • 1/8 oz. Luxardo Fernet
  • 1/8 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with 1 or 2 ice cubes.
  2. Stir to chill slightly
  3. Strain into 2 shot glasses
Punt e Mes Infused with Coffee and Roasted Cocoa Nibs
  • 250 ml (8 oz) Punt e Mes plus more for diluting
  • 30 gm Cracked Black Coffee Beans
  • 3 Tbl Cocoa Nibs
  1. Heat the oven to 325
  2. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and scatter the cocoa nibs across the pan.
  3. Roast in the oven until they smell like fresh brownies – about 10 min
  4. Crack the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or a baggie and rolling pin
  5. In a lidded glass jar, combine all of the ingredients and allow to infuse for 1 hr.
  6. Strain through a metal coffee filter and then through a paper coffee filter
  7. Taste and dilute with additional Punt e Mes to taste.  I added an additional 1/2 by volume.
  8. Keeps refrigerated for a few weeks.

So here is to all of those who followed or contributed to this and all of the Mixology Mondays past:

May the road rise up to meet you, and the wind be at your back.

May the best of your past be the worst of your future.

Sláinte!

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Mixology Monday

It’s Mixology Monday, hosted by Garnish Blog, and the theme is chocolate!  I absolutely love it: chocolate and booze are a match made in Heaven!  We have three cocktails to offer this month: the Chocolate Manhattan, the Chocolate Covered Rum and the Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned.

Chocolate Manhattan

I attended a seminar on tequila and chocolate at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference last year.  It was an epiphany!  Which statement is true: “Chocolate goes with everything” or “Alcohol goes with everything?”  Or both?  Anyway, I used Milagro Plata Tequila which blends with the Lillet and chocolate in surprising ways.  The touch of bitterness and complexity of the Lillet Rouge complements the bittersweet Godiva.  This cocktail is not too sweet, but balanced and intriguing.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Milagro Plata Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Rouge
  • 1/2 oz. Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled glass and serve
 Chocolate Covered Rum

Well, we have chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered everything else so why not chocolate covered rum? I made a chocolate simple syrup with coconut nectar and drinking chocolate.  It is really deeply chocolate and very thick.  This cocktail has the flavor of rum and coconut but the dark chocolate predominates.  The spice of the chipotle and bitters keeps the sweetness at bay.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup – see below
  • 2 pinches chipotle powder
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass and serve
Chocolate Rum Old Fashioned

I thought that a simple Old Fashioned with aged rum and bittersweet chocolate would work.  It does.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Barbancourt 12 yr old Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Chocolate Simple Syrup
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and stir with a spoon to dissolve the chocolate syrup
  3. Add Ice to the shaker and shake to chill
  4. Double strain into chilled glass, express the orange peel over the glass and serve.
Chocolate Simple Syrup

This is like eating a 97% cacao chocolate bar.  Only a touch sweet.  If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

  • 1 oz. Water
  • 1 oz. Coconut nectar or sub honey
  • 4 tbls. Dagoba Drinking Chocolate mix.  You can substitute another brand but I used 130% of the amount to make 1 cup of drinking chocolate.
  • 1 tbls. Sugar or to taste.
  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
  2. Cool slightly before use.
  3. If it’s too thick, add some hot water.

Cheers!

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