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“Knock on Wood” for MxMo LXXIX

17 Nov

mxmologoChristmas is rushing toward us, we are about to get hit by the usual amount of advertising pressure and  any bar you will walk into, for the next month or so, will offer any sort of drink, specifically modified and engineered to reflect this holiday spirit. Now, just before all this nonsense is about to begin, the guys from BoozeNerds give us the chance to focus on what really should be intertesting about this season: nature, and in this particular case, evergreens. Here’s the post for this Mixology Monday theme: resin. I must admit, this was a difficult subject to work with, but I am glad that Christa and Shaung took the time to come up with something so challenging.  At this time of the year resin is all around us with the balsamic fragrance of pine oils, fir essence, dried pine-cones and toasted pine-nuts. Here in Italy we start our weekend trips up on the mountains, were we seek refuge in wooden chalets, drinking hard stuff while the fireplace is crackling. But we also must admit that evergreens and their byproducts are with us all year long, we just concentrate their use during colder months, because they warm our spirit up, they give us a pampering sensation, and most of all, they are part of a tradition.
KNOCK ON WOOD
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“Stars and Stripes” for MxMo LXXVIII

21 Oct

mxmologoTravelling is arguably one of my biggest passions. I consider myself lucky, as I have had the chance to travel, work and live around the world, always with my beautiful lady. Now that we moved back into my hometown, here in Italy, one of the thing I missed the most is just living in a foreign country, learning different lifestyles, different cuisines, new ingredients. I started blogging and participating in Mixology Mondays also for this reason: I wanted to stay in touch with a reality that was different than mine, I wanted to see what other bartenders had to say about cocktails and spirits, because, if there is one thing I learned during my travels, is that mixing ingredients and techniques from different cultures, often produces great results. Now this was almost impossible 100, 150 years ago (even now in Italy it’s difficult to find Chambord, produced in the neighbouring France), as most ingredients were locally sourced, and very few brands were able to reach all the continents. Nowadays though, as Stewart Putney of Putney Farm says in this month MxMo announcement, bar shelves are stocked with bottles from all over the world, most bartenders are familiar with more exotic techniques and even in my small town I can find a decent Asian grocery store. “Intercontinental” is the theme that Stewart decided for us, and it couldn’t be a better one, celebrating the globalization of the cocktail scene, and at the same time bringing us back into an era when travelling was an important event, not something casual, but something to remember and share with your loved ones.

              STARS AND STRIPES

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“Ceci n’est pas une jasmine” for MxMo LXXVIII

22 Sep

mxmologoIt’s Mixology Monday time once again guys and boy, have I ever been this late in submitting my post… well, it doesn’t matter, although late, I am still in time to take part in this amazing monthly online meeting. The theme of the month has been chosen by Elana of Stir and Strain, one of the best crafted cocktail blog out there, especially when we talk about pictures. Elana is a pro, no questions about it. The theme she chose for this month is SMOKE, and you can read all about it on her announcement post.
Smoke infusions are a trendy technique nowadays, (maybe they are not even trendy anymore, bar trends are really fast lately) and definitely one of my favorite, so much that I will be hosting a night here in my hometown next month, and the 4 drinks menu will be focused on the different ways to smoke a cocktail, be it with a cold smoke infusion (such in the recipe below), or by adding a smoky flavor to one of the ingredients (Charcoal infused Campari for example).
In a few weeks I will post all the recipes, but until then, let’s check out something that kept me busy the whole weekend.
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“Ceci n’est pas une Jasmine”
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Charred Memories for MxMo LXXVI

17 Aug

mxmologoIt’s a searing, steaming, scorching hot August here in Italy, and no climate could be more fitting for this month’s MxMo theme: FIRE!!
This time we have the honor of being led by Muse of Doom, one of the most talented bloggers in the booze-blogging universe, and here you can read all about the chosen theme. Make sure you pay her a visit every once in a while, because not only does she come up with great recipes and even better names, but she’s probably the most active person on the net in spreading other people’s word around.. a true Muse of this movement!!
I was worried about not having enough time to contribute, given that I spent my past two weeks on holidays, but luckily I managed to find some spare time as soon as I got back home, so fire away!!

CHARRED MEMORIES
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Desecration by Cherries, for MxMo LXXIV

11 Jun

mxmologoIt’s time for cherries, and coincidentally, thanks to Andrea of Gin Hound, it’s also time for another Mixology Monday meeting. Here’s Andrea’s announcement post, and I would encourage all the readers to check it out, to have an idea how an usual MxMo meeting works.
Last month round-up was a great success, with lots of great recipes, and I would expect this one to have a lot of participants too, given how tasty the theme is.
As my title suggest, I am going to have a go at one great classic, twisting it with homemade cherry soda, then I am going to prove Mr. Morgenthaler wrong, and finally we’ll take a look at a little tiki number. Cheers!

SOUR CHERRY RAMOS FIZZ
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Ingredients:
2 oz. Tanqueray N. 10
0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice
1 oz. Cream
1 Egg white
2 oz. Homemade sour cherry soda*
2 drops of black cherry infused Angostura**

* Prepare a Sour Cherry syrup first, simmering fresh black cherry juice, sour cherry jam (possibly organic and without added sugar), raw sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon and Angostura. Strain the whole thing and add it to soda water or charge it with a siphon. I used a siphon and a 1:3 syrup to water ratio.

** Stuff a jar with black cherries, add sour cherry syrup and Angostura, 1:3 ratio again.

Garnish:
Lavender

Prep:
Combine all the ingredients except Angostura in a shaker, dry shake first and then shake vigorously with ice for few minutes. You really wanna make a velvety concoction with this one so the harder and the longer you shake it the better it is. Pour in a chilled glass over 2 oz. of sour cherry soda. Add two drops of Angostura and decorate with a little lavender flower.

This is the second time that I meddle with a Ramos Fizz, and just as in the first recipe, I don’t wonder too far from the original template. This drink is so perfect on his own that it always feels wrong to play around with it. The Ramos Fizz is one of those drinks that made a great comeback, one of those New Orleans icons brought back by the cocktail revival, and since making it back on the mixology scene, it has inspired many bartenders to work with egg white and orange flower water.
This version that I am presenting you is slightly sweeter than a classic one, but with much more spices that blends perfectly with the texture of this drink. The aroma is all about Angostura, and it prepares to a sip where citrus is enhanced and balanced by the sour cherry soda.The sour cherry persists after the swallow and mingles with Tanqueray, leaving you with a long sweet and sour sensation.

AMARETTO SOUR, MY WAY.
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Ingredients:
1 oz. Disaronno
1 oz. Maker’s mark
0.5 oz. Simple
0.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
2 spoons of sour cherry organic jam

Garnish:
Orange wheel and a pent lemon half, carved out, filled with sour cherry jam and absinthe.

Prep:
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, dryshake first and then shake with ice, double strain over ice, add the carved lemon half, pour absinthe in it and then light it up. Give the customer a spoon because organic jam and absinthe, once the fire is out, are delicious.

This is a little fun cocktail, to be made at home with friends or a quick one to impress easy customers, but most importantly, it’s a simple recipe that I posted to remind us that bartending is all about fun. Not much to be said about this drink, it’s a great Amaretto Sour, the addition of the jam gives it an extra dimension, but here it’s all about the garnish, and the aroma of cherry and absinthe burning together. Here’s a little link to Mr. Jeffrey Morgenthaler video, where he claims he makes the best Amaretto Sour in the world. Well Sir I beg to disagree!!

CASTA SWIZZLE
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Ingredients:
1.50 oz. Camus Cognac
0.75 oz. Carpano Antica Formula
0.50 oz. Cockspur Rum
0.25 oz. Absinthe
0.50 oz. Fresh lime juice
0.25 oz. Fresh orange juice
0.25 oz. Fresh pineapple juice
teaspoon of raw sugar
cinnamon stick
4 black cherries
4 dashes of Angostura.

Garnish:
Mint sprig and cherries.

Prep:
The preparation for this is quite complex so I will try to post a video in the coming weeks. Place the black cherries, halved and pitted, at the bottom of a long and thin well-chilled.glass jar. Add sugar and absinthe and then flame them by lighting on fire an Angostura spray, just like Jamie Boudreau does here in this video. Let the fire stop after a while and then muddle the cherries. Place the jar on crushed ice and let it chill again. At this point take a cinnamon stick and light it up, inside the jar. Let the smoke roll into the jar (if it’s cold enough the smoke will stay inside the jar).
add all the other spirits, close the jar and give it a very quick shake.
reopen the jar, add all the juices and crushed ice, and start swizzling.
Top with more crushed ice, Angostura dashes and garnish.

Now, this swizzle sounds mighty complex but in reality it is not. If you have your line ready, flame the cherries while keeping the jar relatively chilled sitting in crushed ice, the cinnamon smoke will stay inside without a problem. It shouldn’t take more than 3/4 minutes. The result is a very refreshing cocktail, very complex, with cherries and cognac marring perfectly, surrounded by a hint of absinthe and funkiness of Cockspur. Carpano Antica Formula is a great combo with Cognac and it lingers quite a lot, its tame bitterness balancing the sweetness of Absinthe and cherries.
I was so pleased and surprised by this drink that I decided to take it with me to a live comp by the beach next month.. we’ll see what the judges’ll think of it.

That’s it for this post, thanks a lot to Andrea for choosing a very inspiring theme, and thanks to Frederic for reviving this great community! Salute!

Rosemary Glory for MxMo LXIII

16 May

It’s time for another Mixology Monday event, and this month the booze-blogging community is led by the very talented Mark Holmes of Cardiff Cocktails (please spend some time in reading his other posts, as this fellow is one of the most clever professional you can find in the web). The theme chosen by Mark is “Witches Garden”, and as it often happens, it’s a topic that I love. I’ve always loved playing with herbs, I found that they can add many little nuances to a drink and they always give an exotic feeling to the cocktail.
For this MxMo I decided to use rosemary, which grows abundantly around my house, and a new homemade gentiane liqueur that I purchased few weeks ago.

Rosemary Glory

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Veggie Trifecta for MxMo LXXII

12 Apr

Spring should be in the air by now, but in reality all we are getting here in Verona is cold weather and rain. While we wait for the sunshine to come, we might as well get busy creating a drink or two.
Few months ago I had the idea of starting a little veggie program, meaning that I wanted to come up with some recipes, combining vegetables and booze. Weeks passed by, and although some good new drinks were discovered, I never had “time” to put those recipes in writing. Fortunately, Rowen of the Fogged In Lounge came to the rescue, choosing a great theme for this month Mixology Monday: Drink Your Veggies. Now, there is one thing that makes me sit down and start writing every month, and that is MxMo, so for this roundup I decided to present three veggie-based recipes: two from last year along with a brand new one, because writing a MxMo article without a new drink feels like arriving at a party bringing along half drank bottles of wine…
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Let’s start with something I came up with few months ago.

“The Green Wiseman”

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