Mixology Monday (Mxmo) LXVI: Bein’ Green

Mixology Monday, the online cocktail party, has returned for another installment. This months party is hosted by Wordsmithing Pantagruel and the theme is: (it’s not easy) Bein’ Green. Here is the description:

With the warm days of summer now fading off into the distance in our rear view mirrors, let’s pay one last tribute to the greens of summer before the frosts come and our outdoor herb gardens give up the ghost for the winter. For our theme for this month, I have chosen: (it’s not easy) “Bein’ Green.” (Perchance due in no small part to my predilection for Green Chartreuse.) I’m giving you a wide berth on this one, anything using a green ingredient is fair play. There’s not only the aforementioned Chartreuse; how about Absinthe Verte, aka the green fairy. Or Midori, that stuff is pretty damn green. Crème de menthe? Why not? Douglas Fir eau de vie? Bring it! Apple schnapps? Uh…well…it is green. I suppose if you want to try to convince me it makes something good you can have at it. But it doesn’t have to be the liquor. Limes are green. So is green tea. Don’t forget the herb garden: mint, basil, cilantro, you name it – all fair game. There’s also the veritable cornucopia from the farmers market: green apples, grapes, peppers, olives, celery, cucumbers…you get the idea. Like I said, wide berth. Base, mixer, and or garnish; if it’s green it’s good. Surprise me. Use at least one, but the more the merrier.

The field was literally open to anything. With this in mind I really wanted to make a Japanese Garden from Bar High Five in Tokyo: “a mix of single-malt Nikka 10-year Yoichi whisky (only available in Japan), Midori Melon Liqueur, Suntory Green Tea Liqueur, and a prototype green tea bitters of Hidetsugu’s own creation”.

Instead I turned my trusty bottle of Green Chartreuse for inspiration and came up with the:

Hazy Morning
1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
.75 lime juice
.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup
.25 Green Chartreuse
Mezcal Rinse
Combine all the ingredients except the Mezcal with ice, shake, and strain into a mescal rinsed cocktail glass.
Notes:
Mescal, Tequila, Pineapple and Green Chartreuse all in one cocktail glass create one big happy family. Rich and silky with a touch of smoke.

The next drink is from the Imbibe website. In reality the original recipe, Put the Lime in the Coconut is actually for shaved ice and not a cocktail. Now its time to add some rum.
Siren’s Song
1 Cup Coconut Cream (Coco Lopez)
.5 Cup Lime Juice
.5 Cup Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
Zest of 1 Lime
Combine the coconut cream, lime juice, simple syrup and lime zest, stirring well. Overfill a small cup or dish with shaved ice and drizzle with the coconut-lime syrup. Garnish with lime zest and a lime wedge. For my boozy boozy variation add:
1.75oz Lemongrass Infused White Rum (Oronoco) per serving.

Notes: A refreshing treat that takes you back to the warm days of summer. The lime really cuts through and adds a bright and zesty flavor with the lemongrass adding its soft touches in the background.

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Pink Pigeon Rum Review and the Smoked Pigeon

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Pink Pigeon is named after an endangered bird native to Mauritius. At one time there were only 10 left in the world. The rum is distilled in the oldest distillery still in operation today in Mauritius.The vanilla is then handpicked … Continue reading

White Lion VSOA Review and a Brief History of Arrack

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Marco Polo commented on the production of arrack in his 13th century travelogue II Milione. It has remained essentially unchanged all these years. He wrote:

“Nor have they any wine except such as I shall now describe. You must know that they derive it from a certain kind of tree that they have. When they want wine they cut a branch of this, and attach a great pot to the stem of the tree at the place where the branch was cut; in a day and a night they will find the pot filled. This wine is excellent drink, and is got both white and red. It is of such surpassing virtue that it cures dropsy and sick and spleen.”
The Travels of Marco Polo, 1292

This spirit is not to be confused with Arak or Batavia Arrack as they are completely different spirits. Arak is from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, and flavored with aniseed. Batavia Arrack is from Indonesia and is distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice. Lastly we have Coconut Arrack which is from Sri Lanka and is distilled from the naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers. VSOA cannot be referred to arrack in the US. This is because in the US, the alcohol laws strictly define this word and related spellings (arak, arack, araka, raki, etc) to apply only to aniseed spirits.

VSOA is distilled from naturally fermented coconut nectar before being mellowed for 2 years in barrels of Halmilla Wood.

It is a rich golden amber color. It has a very sweet aroma that is slightly nutty with hints of vanilla and tropical fruits with a slight vegetal note in the background.

On the palate it reminds be of a sweeter rum and a fruiter whiskey all rolled into one with a slight vegetal funk (in a good way). The notes of vanilla and tropical fruits are present in the taste with a nutty finish.

Overall this is an excellent and unique product. Give it a try ad it’s one not to be missed.

White Lion VSOA retails for around $26/750ml and comes in at 36.8% alcohol per volume.

VSOA Old Fashioned
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
.25 oz All spice Dram (St. Elizabeth)
1 tsp of Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Fee’s Old Fashioned Bitters Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass.

Passion fruit Daiquiri

2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Passion fruit Syrup
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass


Ceylon Swizzle
2 ozs White Lion VSOA
1 oz Ginger Liqueur (Domaine De Canton)
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass. Garnish with orange wheel. I prefer to garnish it with a lemon. Notes: The drink has a nice honeyed tropical taste to it. It was a touch sweet for my tastes and I would cut down on the simple syrup to .75 oz. Adding a couple dashes of orange flower water adds a subtle floral touch and is a nice match for the honey like notes in the drink.


Review sample was provided by White Lion VSOA.

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Lucid Absinthe Review and the Absinthe Suissesse

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Absinthe continues to be a mystifying spirit, partly because of its scandalous history and the controversy surrounding its supposedly hallucinogenic properties.

Allegedly it was created as a medicinal elixir in the early 1790′s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. It gained popularity after it was given to French troops to combat malaria. When they returned they brought it back to cafes, bars, and other establishments and its popularity exploded.

Driven by the prohibition and temperance movement, absinthe was demonized and associated with violent crime, ultimately leading to its ban in 1912 by the US Dept. of Agriculture. After 95 years, the ban was ultimately lifted, and the genuine absinthe was once again reauthorized for sale in the United States. Lucid became the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

Lucid was developed in France by absinthe historian and distiller T.A. Breaux. It is distilled in the historic Combier Distellery in Saumur, in France’s Loire Valley.

For the taste test I sampled it as it is traditionally prepared.

The aroma is powerful and enticing, with aromas of anise, indeterminate spices, a hint of mint and other herbs filling the air around the glass.

The taste is more subdued than the aroma would lead you to believe. The flavors of anise and fennel are the first to engulf your mouth. This is followed by notes of various herbs which are impossible to discern as they blend together in one herby and earthy flavor.

Lucid is available in 750 mL for $59.99 and 375 mL for $34.99.

I now offer some additional ways to enjoy absinthe besides the traditional method.

First up is the Asbinthe Frappe which is an easy method used to turn the classic drip method into a refreshing iced drink.
Absinthe Frappe
1.5 ozs Absinthe (Lucid)
.5 oz simple syrup
1.5 ozs club soda
1cup crushed ice
Build first 2 ingredients over crushed ice and top with club soda. Give a quick stir to incorporate.
Notes:
This drink slowly changes over time as the ice melts adding more dilution to the drink. It starts off strong and cold before mellowing into a sweet and bubbly drink, perfect for those warm nights.

This drink has similar components to both the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Absinthe Frappè
Absinthe Suissesse
1.5 ozs Absinthe (Lucid)
.5 oz Orgeat Syrup
1 egg white or 1 oz of Pasteurized Egg Whites
1 dash or about 4-6 drops Orange Flower Water
2 ozs Half and Half
.5 cup crushed ice
Shake and strain with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a highball glass.
Notes:
The egg white and cream give the drink a frothy milkshake like texture. The orgeat adds a sweet nutty flavor helping to round out the flavor of absinthe.

This upcoming drink is a wonderful introduction into the world of tiki drinks.
Test Pilot
1.5 ozs Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate V/X)
.75 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan)
3 tsps of Cointreau
1/8 tsp of Absinthe
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Falernum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 cup crushed ice
Blend all ingredients together for 5 seconds then pour unstrained into a low ball glass. Top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry.
Notes:
I decided to use Cruzan rum instead of the light Puerto Rican Rum called for. Like most good tiki drinks, this drink is more than the sum of it’s parts. Nevertheless the bitters and the absinthe are noticeable in the background lending subtle spicy and herbal notes. It is an expertly balanced drink with the sweetness in wonderful harmony with bite of the citrus and ginger.

The last cocktail is a creation by Stew Ellington.
Felix Swizzle
1 oz Dark Rum Rhum Barbancourt
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate)
.5 oz Falernum
.25 oz Absinthe (Lucid)
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
.25 Simple Syrup
Build in an ice filled tiki mug or high ball glass and swizzle. Garnish with a paper umbrella and a straw
Notes:
The original recipe does not call for the additional .25 oz of simple syrup but I felt that the drink needed because it was a little to tart for my taste. The absinthe adds a herbal depth with the maraschino adding a touch of it’s characteristic funk.

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Disclosure: This was a sample bottle that was shipped to me.

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Ron Diplomatico Reserva Review and The Hotel Nacional Special

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copyright Destilerias Unidas

Rum from the islands in the Caribbean often get the most attention. For most people, Venezuela probably is one of the last countries people thing of with regards to rum.

This offering from Destilerias Unidas hails from Venezuela. It is distilled in copper pot stills, then aged in oak casks for 8 years before being bottled.

The color is a beautiful clear copper gold. On the nose there is a warm smell of carmel and molasses combined with notes of dark fruits (figs, raisins, etc), spices (cinnamon,allspice, etc), and oak to round out the flavors.

The rum is spicy and wonderfully fruity all at the same time. The flavors meld together creating a harmonious spirit. There are also notes of vanilla and chocolate with orangey undertones.
I bought this rum on a whim figuring that for $20 how could I go wrong. I wasn’t ( wrong that is). This is a great rum which probably does not get the attention it deserves. At $20 for an 8 year old rum it is an excellent buy. It is rich and complex providing a smooth backbone for cocktails.

I decided to mix up a Hotel Nacional Special. I used the version of the recipe that is in the PDT cocktail book. It was invented by Will P. Taylor for the Hotel Nacional in Cuba while he was managing it . He also managed the Waldorf-Astoria before it was closed due to prohibition.

Hotel Nacional Special
2 oz 8 year old Rum (Ron Diplomatico Reserva)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Lime juice
.5 oz Simple syrup
.25 oz Apricot liqueur (Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot)
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Notes:
The drink has a wonderful golden color. The rum provides a strong framework for which the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the pineapple can hang from. The apricot lends a subtle sweet candied fruit note in the background.

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The Decade

The Decade Cocktail was invented by Willy Shine of the 1534 bar in NY. I came across this drink on the finecooking.com blog.

the Decade
1.5 oz Cognac (Hennessy)
1 oz Amaretto (Disaronno)
2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
.25 oz fresh lemon or lime juice (Lime)
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf (I didn’t have any at the time).

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Notes:
The cognac adds depth and complexity which is balanced out by the nuttiness of the amaretto and the fruitiness of the pineapple juice. The amaretto and pineapple juice lend it a tropical flavor making this an all year addition to my stable of go to drinks.

1800 Coconut Tequila Review & The Smokey Matador

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Coconut flavored spirits are nothing new. There is a vast array of coconut rums on the market. Then there is Cîroc vodka which has claimed it’s placed on top of the coconut vodka mountain. 1800 tequila sets itself apart from these as a wholly different animal. Instead of being infused with natural or artificial flavors it is infused with coconut water. This creates a more subtle coconut flavor thus allowing the flavors of the blue agave to shine through. This is an excellent mixer and at around $25 retail, it will be a great addition to any home bar for the summertime.

Now for some drinks.

On the back of the bottle, 1800 offers a recipe for the:
Coconut Crusher
1 part 1800 Coconut
1 part pineapple juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice

For my second drink I went with a rift on the Frozen Matador.
Smokey Matador
1.5oz 1800 Coconut Tequila
2oz Pineapple Juice
.5oz Lime Juice
1tsp Coco Lopez
.5tsp of Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
Blend a cup of ice with the Mezcal. Put the crushed ice into a low ball glass; Combine the first 3 ingredients, shake, and strain over the crushed ice.

Notes:
Coconut and pineapple are always a winning combination and here they play the leading role with the spiciness of the agave bringing up the rear. The smokiness of the Mezcal adds a little extra complexity and adds to the overall experience of the drink.

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Have you tried the 1800 Coconut Tequila? If so, what do you think?