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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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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!

Veggie Program # 2: From Muffin to Booze

3 Jun

We have a new pastry chef consultant/supplier at the hotel, he’s a bit of a celebrity here in northern Italy, and he happens to be a very thirsty guy. Last delivery he made, he brought along some carrot and ginger muffins, which are delicious, and, while he was sampling our new selection of potato vodkas, we had a discussion about carrot juice in drinks. This guy was the first one to import the centrifuge juice concept in our little provincial town, and it took him a while to convince customers that fresh juice from veggies and fruit was much better than prebottled commercial stuff. Nowadays customers mind is set on a better quality product, like our slow-juiced extracts, and they don’t mind waiting a bit longer for their drinks. The conversation moved from food, to healthy drinks, and then it inevitably landed onto booze. He challenged me to create a liquid version of his gorgeous muffins, and I am not one to back down from a challenge.

ROGER’S DELIGHT
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