Medium of Mixology dives into the creation of cocktails from the perspective of a visual artist. For each drink we look at presentation, taste, lasting appeal, and value to reproduce for guests to your home or your business.
Let’s get one last cocktail recipe in before Lent shall we? I’ll be taking these 40 days before Easter to sober up and give my liver a break, but for today it’s party time! For today’s cocktail I’m finally ready to share the third cocktail in the Avatar Universe drink set. The “Fire Nation Flaming Rum Punch” is a kick in the gut in it’s intense volume of alcohol, but a wonderfully balanced mix of flavors similar to that of a classic Zombie.
The Flaming Rum Punch is a spectacle of color and real fire! If done correctly you’ll be able to ignite the cocktail and for your guests turn cinnamon into sparks with your fingertips. When the fire is out and the glass’ rim has cooled you’re greeted with a toasty cinnamon aroma and an inviting red-orange color. The first quarter of the drink is super intense as you sip off the layer of 151 rum, which hits hard but with a toasted cinnamon flavor with a simple fruity mix underneath. After you’ve gotten through initial shock layer, you’re left with a complex rum punch recipe. The drink starts sweet, moves to a smokey cinnamon on the mid palette with a little falernum and citrus creeping at the back end, and finishes with a “PUNCH” of rum on the back end with a sweet fruit tail as it sits.
Much like it’s predecessors in the series, this cocktail isn’t to be taken lightly. It kicks you from front to back, but is sweet enough to not be overpowering. Overall it’s a fun drink to pull out for a party, but not something I’d make everyday. If you’re got a well stocked bar, you might want to give it a try.
3/4 oz Sloe Gin
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Falernum (or 1/4 Orgeat, 1/4 Lime Juice, pinch of clove, pinch of ginger)
3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
1 oz Spiced Rum
1/2 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Dark Rum
3/4 oz 151 Rum
Shake everything except 151 with ice. Strain into a highball or pint glass (no ice). Float 151 rum over the drink. Ignite. Sprinkle powdered cinnamon over as desired. Blow out flame and enjoy.
“Everything changed when the fire nation attacked!”
So I’m fairly embarrassed that the first cocktail of 2019 is in the middle of February, but I’m proud to finally be a day a head of a holiday for releasing a drink. This should give everyone the day to snag the ingredients if you don’t already have them.
Consulting a cocktail book of mine I was intrigued by this simple, but interesting cocktail. A visually simple light rose color, with an inviting nose of a light banana and tart berry. The drink starts off sweet with a mix of the flavors, hits with a banana and light vodka burn on the mid pallete, and finishes with the tartness of cranberry. I fell like this is a cocktail that could really be changed based on your choice of ingredients. A sweet banana liqueur will make a sweeter drink, while a stronger 99 Bananas will get you a punchier cocktail with less flavor and more burn. Additionally a cheaper vodka would make this drink more harsh than smooth and complex, so if you’re making it for a lover spend the extra cash and get a nice top shelf vodka.
Overall it’s a simple but interesting cocktail. Inviting in color and flavor, but not complex enough for the experienced mixologist to call a “regular.” If you’re looking to impress, but still keep under a budget this might be a good choice. Outside of that, I think there are better options for these three flavors.
Sometimes I’m just inspired and two original cocktails back to back area clear indication when something is going right. Continuing my journey into Zelda: Breath of the Wild Cocktails, I present Mipha’s Grace. In the game this power-up brings you back from the brink of death with the power of the Water Champion Mipha! I wanted to do a whiskey based drink for this particular cocktail as whiskey comes from Gallic meaning “water of life,” which is the perfect definition for this cocktail and the power in the game.
With a deep blue/green color and select lemon, cherry, and sugar garnishes this cocktail is a beauty in it’s presentation and it’s taste. The aroma is a neutral citrus and sweet, with a hint of apple on the back end. The drink starts with a cool and sweet flavor which moves to a sweet citrus, then finally finishes with a slight burn of apple, lemon, and cherry/berry. It’s not the best cocktail in the world, but it’s a great representation of the theme with a solid drink behind it. If you’re throwing a game themed party this might be a great choice for you. Outside of that it’s a fun novelty for an evening, but nothing special enough for a regular cocktail.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
1 1/2 oz Apple Whiskey
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Orgeat (Almond Syrup)
1/4 oz Blackberry Brandy
Cherry with stem
Prepair a cocktail glass by rimming the edge with a lemon wedge and coating in sugar. Chill. Shake whiskey, curacao, gin, syrup, and brandy together with ice. Strain into prepared glass over a single cherry (keep stem on). Squeeze remaining lemon wedge over drink and drop it in.
I’ve been off and on returning to my “wandering around” in the game Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I was struck with inspiration on the 4 “powers” you get in the game (Incoming SPOILERS). Revali’s Gale lets you glide upward with a gust of wind, making it easier to traverse mountains. For this original cocktail I wanted to play with both the visuals of the power and the flavors of the game’s region. Specifically using Grey Goose vodka to mimic the Rito (bird-like race) and the regional wheat flavor (wheat vodka); I played with various iterations of a mix of flavors to get the desired color and flavor. It had to be green, light, airy, and in a tall glass. Thinking about it more and more I wanted to also incorporate some mint to reflect the tall mountains and snow shown in the game. For that reason I decided to do a riff on the classic Mojito.
The “Revali’s Gale” is a light summer style drink, with refreshing flavor that will elevate you to new heights. The drink looks very similar to a classic Mojito, but is considerably greener and the bottom. It has a light minty aroma and paired with a few visual mint leaves a very inviting presentation. Like any Mojito you’re greeted with a light taste of your choice spirit and club soda which moves quickly to a little sweet lime. With this variation you get a finish of melon and mint which keeps you going back for more. As you drink to the bottom and start to mix in the darker liqueur components, you get more melon and citrus, but it’s not overpoweringly sweet. Overall this is a nice twist on the summer classic, and can really be enjoyed in any season. If you’re not a huge rum person and want to go for a vodka variant, this might be the cocktail for you!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10
2 oz Grey Goose Vodka (or other Wheat Vodka)
1 oz Lime Juice
2 sugar Cubes
6-8 Mint Leaves
Splash Blue Curacao
Muddle Lime Juice, Mint, and Sugar in a mixing glass. Add ice, and vodka. Shake well. Strain into an iced collins glass and top with club soda. Add a splash of blue curacao, then a splash of Midori. Serve to a wandering hero.
Well, after over 2 months I figured it was time for a new cocktail review. To start this is certainly one of those drinks that has a terrible name, because it does nothing to inspire and just tells you what’s in the drink.
Names aside we’re talking about a simple drink that leans to be a significantly sweet drink best used as a digestif cocktail. The aroma lends it self very much to the creme de cassis (black currant) but also hints to the earthiness of the vermouth. With an inviting deep burgundy color accented by the lemon twist, it’s certainly a beautiful drink. The flavor profile is surprisingly smooth. Based on the two ingredient list I was skeptical but it’s in fact a well balanced cocktail. While I can normally pull a; front, mid, and after taste to a cocktail this simply teeters between cassis and vermouth over an over in that order. The flavor is very cassis forward, but you get the warm earthiness of the vermouth under it.
To rebalance the cocktail and make it more than just an after dinner sipper, I’d like to remake this with 3/4 oz of lemon juice and a dash of simple syrup. It’s a good drink but is lacking more citrus than the barely noticeable aroma on the twist. If you’re making this one for yourself try the citrusy variant for a better tasting cocktail.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 3/10
Overal Rating: 6/10
1 oz Creme de Cassis
1 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist (spiral)
Every now and then I just happen to get a really good idea. Last night was one such example when I spontaneously was inspired by a bag of apples I picked up at the grocery store. For much of the warm weather this year I found myself making “smash” style cocktails which often feature an uncommon ingredient such as cucumber or basil and muddles it in a glass without straining off the extra chunks. Not everyone is fond of fruit or veggies floating in their cocktail, but as long as it tastes good I’m not complaining.
So, as mentioned earlier this year, I found myself picking up some Apple Crown Royal Whiskey and using it in a few choice cocktails, and I think my creating of the Harvest Apple Smash utilizes it perfectly with the changing of the seasons.
The unique presentation makes it look a bit like an “applesauce” drink, and that’s actually not that far off. With chunks of fruit and red skin floating throughout it just feels like you pulled a cup of cider off the press. The aroma is very apple-y with a whiskey forward and crisp fresh apple at the back of the scent. The flavor profile leans toward that a rich cider from a farmer’s market. The front of you palette is greeted with a little chunky fruit and a sweet apple flavor, mid palette it moves the apple whiskey, and finishes with a cinnamon and toasted apple finish. This is a cocktail right out of a fall festival, without the need for cider in the first place so it’s perfect for any time of year. If you’re looking to kick off your fall with a good cocktail, consider trying this new original cocktail!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Harvest Apple Smash
2 oz Apple Whiskey
1/2 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 Thinly Sliced Apple
Apple Slice (Optional)
In a rocks glass muddle thinly sliced apples and cinnamon syrup until you get a chunky apple sauce consistency. Add lemon juice and ice. Pour over Apple Whiskey and stir well. Optionally garnish with a thin apple slice.
So it’s half way through the year, and I’m wondering why all of my time went recently. Thinking about making drinks I realized I’m about due to start curating my list of cocktails for my annual Christmas Party. I know what seems really far away for most of you, but building the right drink list for that party is everything to me, and it was recently that I tried today’s cocktail and it really stuck me as a strong contender for my party. If you yourself host guests around the holidays I highly suggest you work on your drink list now, and possibly include this one.
The Ambassador is the second rum cocktail listed in one of my recipe books, and I was shocked I hadn’t made it sooner. Granted I may have been looking for “Passion Fruit Liqueur” which it does call for, but I realized when it’s only about a 1/4 oz then it’s really not about the liqueur and more about the flavor, which can be done with juice or syrup, thus I’ve reflected that in the recipe below along with my substitution of Crown Royal Regal Apple for the Apple Liqueur (because apple pucker won’t cut it for this)
As for the cocktail itself, we’re looking at an inviting reddish color, and a rich apple and cranberry on the nose. The drink starts with a sweet and tart cranberry, moves quickly to a sweet apple, and finishes with a whiskey and passion fruit finish. The rum really feels lost in this drink, but I’m really not complaining here. It fills space in the glass and makes room for other great flavors! The Crown Apple is really the star of this drink. Granted it might be different if you can find an apple schnapps in your area, but I don’t feel it would really be worth it to cheapen out of this drink. From start to finish it’s a smooth and simple cocktail with rich flavors. It’s not perfect, but it’s really close. Perhaps some orange bitters or even a orange peel twist would make it just a little better.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
1 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Apple Liqueur (or Apple Whiskey)
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz Passion Fruit Juice or Syrup
So back on the 4th I was looking to buy an alcohol that was “truly American” and while the generic response might be bourbon, I decided to take the less classy route and pick up some Moonshine, because nothing says low class than grain alcohol. Granted I had tried some “Midnight Moon” and “Old Smoky” flavored varieties in the past, but getting the pure distilled spirit was a new experience. As you might guess it’s a fairly harsh burn from start to finish, but does make a nice hard lemonade on a hot day.
So, one night I was relaxing and looking over some old recipes when I got the strange idea of making a refined hill-billy cocktail, which I’ve come to call the “Agent Jed.” Jed is a riff on the Vesper (as highlighted last week), and honestly I was pretty surprised by the result. This simple two ingredient recipe is the result of a very lucky guess, that shines forth from the old pot still.
Now of course to match the “low end” theme of this drink I have forgone all shaking and garnishes and just opted for a straight build over ice with a quick stir. Jed wouldn’t have it any other way. On the nose it has a bit of a white wine aroma from the Lillet, but other than that it’s very plain. The drink starts off smooth and cold with not much noticeable flavor. On the mid palette you get a wine taste creeping through, but not very overpowering until the end. The finish is this drink’s true “double agent” quality. You get hit with a strong flavor from the Lillet, and then as it settles you get punched with the burn from the White Lightnin’. Is it a great drink? No. But it’s not that bad for sipping on in place of vodka or gin (depending on your mood).
The Vesper is arguably the best martini you’ve never had. It’s origin is thanks to Ian Fleming’s famous character James Bond, in the 1953 Novel (and 2006 Film) Casino Royal. As Bond himself describes it the drink contains: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
Now unfortunately for us Kina Lillet hasn’t been in production since the mid 1980s, and Gordons Gin has also changed since then as well (and is now known for being fairly low end). Bond also usually requests a Russian Vodka, which personally I’m not a fan of. So, for a modern Vesper it’s best to stick with your favorite of the harder spirits, and pick yourself up a bottle of Lillet Blanc. The remaining instructions hold true making for a truly classy cocktail.
The drink straight out of the shaker will be a cloudy white, but eventually will turn clear as it hits the air and settles. The thin waft of a lemon peel (best used a kitchen peeler for) brings a distinct lemony aroma to the nose. On the front of your palette you’re greeted with refreshing gin flavor, a lemon and Lillet hit you quickly after that, and you’re finished with a slight burn from the vodka (depending you your choice you may get a smoother flavor). This cocktail I’d say depends quite highly on the quality of your ingredients. Granted I’m using a mild American Style Gin here as well as a cheaper American Vodka, so the flavor profile will reflect the Lillet and Lemon more than the vodka and gin. If you’re looking for a stronger flavor try mixing with Beefeater or Bombay for the gin, and/or Boyd & Blair, Kettle One, or Absolut, for the vodka.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.4/10
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc
Shake all with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink (express the oils) and drop it in.
So, earlier this year I picked myself up a Nintendo Switch and played through the most recent installment in the now 32 year old franchise “The Legend of Zelda; Breath of the Wild.” The open world adventure game gives lots of room for varied play styles through an elegant story. However one particular moment in the game stood out to me, it was the side quest in helping a bar tender create a drink known as the “Noble Pursuit” aka (in the game) the perfect drink.
As the game is designed to hit a demographic of both young and old it is described rather vague, leaving lots of room for interpretation. The only clues you get for flavor are in the line “The light, sweet taste…the cool sensation from each sip…it’s like drinking distilled motivation!”
In designing this drink I went through several iterations based on different aspects of the game’s desert region (where the drink is created/served) as well as the local ingredients for food in the game. Most notably for a cocktail I thought about the two common fruits in the game the “Hydromelon,” “Palm Fruit,” and “Volt Fruit.” The hydromelon has the appearance of a spherical watermelon, so I played with using the Japanese liqueur midori on my first few mixes. My second attempt was pulling from the Palm Fruit which was more or less a coconut (so coconut rum), which also proved to me unsuccessful). More commonly however, in the game’s desert you will find a volt fruit growing on a cactus. The volt fruit has the appearance of a cross between a pineapple and a lychee berry, so I thought a tropical pineapple juice base would be ideal. From there I took a look at the shelves on the bar for the shapes and labels of the bottles. None of them had any writing on them so I had to interpret from there as well.
After several unsuccessful attempts with mixing fruit flavors I ended up going for something that more ties to the original description of the cocktail. It is said to be “notably very strong” which I took to just mean “has alcohol.” As part of the side quest you have to carry a large block of ice across the sand, so it’s requirement of “a HUGE amount of ice,” wanted me to use one of my large ice cubes. Outside of that I was looking for something sweet and light on the palette, while maintaining a cool and refreshing flavor.
So, for the MoM version of “The Noble Pursuit” you’re greeted with a foamy golden color (similar to that of the game’s sand) and the aroma is a mild spicy ginger. On first sip you’re greeted with a little sweet foam from the shaken pineapple juice. On the mid palette you get a bit more of the ginger with your choice of bitter peaking through. On the finish you get the spice of the Jagermeister under the sweet brandy and ginger liqueur. As it settles you’re reminded of the alcohol as it warms you and motivates you to journey across the great desert!
Thought it may not be made of many “local Gerudo Ingredients” it’s a cocktail worthy of the name “The Nobel Pursuit.”
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 8/10
The Nobel Pursuit (Loz: Breath of the Wild)
1 oz Ginger Liqueur
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Jagermeister
1 oz Brandy (or Cognac)
3 Dashes Aromatic Bitter (Preferably something floral)
Shake all with ice, and strain into a rocks glass over one HUGE ice cube.