Monday, July 10, 2006

Cold Fun in the Summertime!
Sometimes creating your own ingredients, whether as simple as a flavored syrup or as complicated as a particular liqueur, means ending up with enough of it to have more than is necessary for the drink or event that you made it for. That's usually the case of the "Ginger Infused" simple syrup I make for my Dark and Stormy. So I decided to try to come up with a recipe to help use more of it so that I didn't have it around too long after all the Goslings was gone. That's how I came up with...

My Yellow Ginger Lei
1.5 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum
2 oz. Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
.5 oz. Ginger Infused Simple Syrup

Pour all ingredients into a shaker half filled with cracked ice, shake thouroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Yummy! It's sweet, of course, but has a bit of a spark as well from the ginger as. You may find that you want to cut the syrup back to .25 ounces if you find this recipe to be beyond your sweetness threshold.

What's That I'm Listening To?
"My Yellow Ginger Lei" by John Kameaaloha Almeida. It's a ukulele instrumental, so you don't get to hear the words, but I think it's a marvelous version. It comes from his album "Strum Your Ukulele" so keep your eyes out for it in the thrift shops. Perhaps you'll get lucky and bump into it someday. In the meantime, go ahead and make yourself a cocktail, kick back in your patio lounge and listen to this song:

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!
Even the most liberal (and, therefore, Culturally Sensitive) of my friends fall back on old Cheech and Chong records (whether they know it or not) when refering to this Mexican holiday. I've heard that it is not even that heavily celebrated in Mexico. I suppose that, being the anniversary of a great military victory, it may be more like our Memorial Day than our Independence Day. We Americans, though, have hijacked the 5th of May as an excuse to quaf copious amounts of Corona and Pico de Gayo and Tortas and Camarones el Diablo. Why we need an excuse for such activity is beyond me.

All I know is that my Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide from 1949 doesn't even make mention of Tequila. It has a few Vodka drinks in it, but a few is all it has. Both were rather new on the American scene at that point.

In the past 60 years Vodka has grown to be one of the most heavily consumed liquors in the United States. That's because Vodka is flavorless (some go so far as to claim that it's Tasteless), of course.

Tequila, though, has made some pretty impressive strides into the American market, and has recently begun to show a stronger presence. The Tequila I used in today's cocktail was a relatively new type produced by the Jose Cuervo brand. Allow me to attest that Jose Cuervo Black Medallion (Oak Barrel Signature Blend) is pretty darned good. It is aged and has a smoother, softer flavor than even most Gold Tequilas.

Today's cockail is, of course...

The Margarita
As with any truly great cocktail, the best way to make it is the simplest! Here's how I do it...

2 oz. Tequila
1.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Triple Sec

Pour all ingredients into a shaker half filled with ice cubes. Shake as if there is no tomorrow (or, as if, tomorrow, you could be replaced by a Mexican at work). Strain into Appropriate Glass. Enjoy.

If adding salt to the rim of the glass, course, kosher salt works best. There is no reason to feel you have to do this, however (unless you're working at T.G.I. Friday's and your boss tells you to). This drink can also be prepared in a blender with crushed ice for a "frozen" variety.

What's That I'm Listening To? In the spirit of the day, I've spent the last several hours listening to a whole bunch of stuff I don't understand a single word of. Most of it comes from South of the Border but some of the best of it (reminiscent of a certain hit song from the 80s by Cheech Marin) comes out of East Los Angeles. My favorite example of this is "El Ano Viejo" by The Blazers. I don't have a clue what it's about. You can get yourself a copy of it at:

PS: Oops! It was actually Cinco de Mayo when I started typing this entry. It was, also, very late at night. I fell asleep waiting for El Ano Viejo to upload and moved straight to bed the second I gained consciousness for a second. I was considering posting "event related" cocktails a week or so in advance from here on out but, to be honest, that kind of takes the fun out of it. There also aren't that many "cocktail specific events" coming up in the near future. You guys'll just have to hang onto these recipes for an entire year if you can't have a Margarita just because it's Saturday (or Thursday, or whatever...).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's a Bright and Beautiful Day!
So why am I having a drink called a Dark and Stormy? Hmmmmmm... Because it's Yummy, maybe? One of my favorites from way back, this one is sweet and tart and rich at the same time and not a bit too much of either, in my humble opinion. Why don't you try making one and see what you think?

Dark & Stormy
2 oz. Goslings Black Burmuda Rum
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 or 2 slices fresh ginger
2 to 3 oz. Jamaican Ginger Beer
2 lime wedges

Method: Add rum, fresh ginger and simple syrup to a 10 oz. double old fashioned glass filled with ice cubes. Stir to combine. Top with Ginger Beer, squeeze lime wedges into glass and serve.

Make sure you use Ginger Beer in this one. You might have to get it from an "ethnic" section of the grocery. I know that, around here, the Goya brand is usually in the Mexican Food section. Ginger Ale is simply too weak and wimpy to do it right.

I also make a special "Ginger Infused" simple syrup to use in this drink and a few others. Simply add a couple teaspoons of grated, fresh ginger to your syrup during the simmering process and strain it before letting it cool. It adds even a bit more of a bite.

What's That I'm Listening To? "Jungle Drums" by Earl Bostic. This classic Ernesto Lecuona composition was recorded by just about every Exotica or Easy Listening act that existed back in the 50s. Earl, though, was a bit more jumpy and swingin' than most of the others. It's almost Rock 'n' Roll, as a matter of fact! Check it out here...

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's Magically Delicious!!!

Ah, Saint Patrick's Day! For those of us with a fair amount of Irish blood there's no other like it. As an excuse to get FUBAR for an entire 24 hours, you can't beat it with a stick.

What's That I'm Drinking? Leprechaun's Libation

1 oz. green crème de menthe
2.5 oz. Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Blend crème de menthe and Irish Whiskey with 3.5 oz. of cracked ice. Serve in goblet or large wine glass.

What's That I'm Listening To? Puking in the Heather

The Irish are, of course, famous for their Drinking Songs. This song is about drinking. These guys, a band called Boiled in Lead, were a really kick-ass Irish band (and there are more of a few of those, of course), and recorded what I regard as the perfect Saint Patrick's Day Anthem and here it is.

Erin go Braugh

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

Congratulations to the City of New Orleans for pullin' this one off, boy howdy! I know that there are plenty of folks who think very little of the folks who are down there enjoying themselves despite the devastation that surrounds them but, hey... If you can't throw a good party you really have given up, haven't you? I believe that this is a huge step in the right direction for a town that still has a lot of huge steps ahead of it.

And, so, tonight I celebrate New Orleans.

What's That I'm Drinking? The Hurricane

Sadly... Tonight's cocktail is the product of a mix I purchased at the local grocery and, though it's pretty darn tasty, it does taste like a cocktail made from a mix. In case you can't find it at your grocer you can find Hurricane Mix here: Better yet... Make your Hurricane from scratch.

2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz. Passion Fruit Syrup
4 oz. Dark Jamaican (Myers) Rum

Shake all ingredients and pour into 20 oz. Hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with Orange Slice and Maraschino Cherry. Have Fun!

Note: The "Have Fun!" at the end of the recipe is an actual requirement. It appears at the end of the instructions on the back of the mix package as well as on the backs of the 20 oz. Hurricane Glasses (like the one in the photo) that you get at Pat O'Brien's restaurant in NOLA, where the drink was created.

What's That I'm Listening To? Mama Roux

"Mama Roux" from Doctor John's first album, Gris-Gris (1968). To this day, Mac Rebennack is the one New Orleans artist (out of, probably, thousands in just the Music category) who most perfectly sums up the feel and the vibe of the city in just about every single thing he does. Click here and you can listen to it too...

Note that downloading the file may require a few clicks. Hey! It's a FREE SONG, for Pete's sake!

You can purchase the entire album at your Local Record Store or, if necessary, here...

What's That I'm Lookin' At? Since we can't be in New Orleans (or since we aren't, at least) we can go to for a glimpse of what we're missing.

What's That I'm Thinking!?! Hmmmmmmmmmmmm... I dunno. Just gonna use this as a place to sit and think and drink and share. If you wanna hang out with me you are cordially invited.