Measure & Stir

A Craft Cocktail Blog for the Home Bartender that Focuses on Original Creations Drawn from Culinary Inspiration.


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Strawberry Acapulco: Tequila, Rum, Grapefruit, Pineapple

I am sure at this point that anyone who is following me can tell that I have been raiding Kaiser Penguin’s archives. I was looking for ideas for cocktail garnishes and I found ten or twelve drinks that I really needed to make. Unfortunately, I made four of them in one night, and the next morning did not go all that well. All the drinks were really spectacular, though. To cap off the week I decided to share a small twist that I made on the Acapulco, a relatively classic drink from Difford’s Guide #5.

Tequila in Tiki? Yes, apparently, it can happen. On this particular evening, I had some strawberry syrup on hand, and as I am a great lover of the strawberry + tequila pairing, I substituted half of the simple syrup in this recipe with strawberry syrup. The result was a pleasant, subtle jamminess that pervaded the whole drink. In the picture there is a bit of a gradient, but I think that is due to the fact that the glass is thicker at the top than the bottom.

And let me tell you, there is a reason that blended strawberry margaritas are so popular in resorts and spring break type scenarios. Sure, those drinks suck, with their artificial flavorings and colorings, but there is still something about this flavor combination. I like it so much that I made some strawberry-infused tequila, but for this drink I wanted the smokiness of the reposado to really come through against the other flavors, and alas, my infusion is made with blanco tequila.

Strawberry Acapulco

1 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
1 oz Barbados Rum (Doorly’s)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 1/2oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup
.5 oz Strawberry Syrup
Shake over ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with pineapple, strawberries, and an orange wheel, since it’s for the blog.

My rum collection is growing lately (a good problem!) and I was very pleased that for once I actually had a rum from the origin specified in the drink recipe. It is frequently not so.  This drink went down a little too smoothly, but wow, what an excellent flavor! Why not drink it while listening to Martin Denny?


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Mixology Monday: Equal Parts

Mixology MondayIt’s been a while, Mixology Monday. I was always a little disappointed that this fine cocktail blog tradition became suspended just as I was getting started. This month it’s hosted by Fred of Cocktail Virgin Slut, which was one of the main resources I have used to learn about the world of fine drinks. Before I started this blog, easily ninety percent of the drinks I made came from CVS, and I still use them every time I am exploring a new ingredient. Their site is easily the best cocktail database on the web.

Anyway, as I was digging around in various blog archives, looking for inspiration, I came upon this comparison of Zombie recipes by Kaiser penguin, and I noticed that the recipe they selected as their favorite was equal parts. That version is the Dr. Cocktail version from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh. I will confess that this recipe takes a bit of license with the theme; Fred said that dashes of bitters were OK, but this recipe also called for 1tsp of brown sugar. We’ll call that a couple of dashes.

Sadly, I did not have any powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the pineapple and lime, but I made up for it with a parasol on the straw. I also served it over cubed ice, and I think crushed might have been a bit more in the spirit of the drink, but even so, it was utterly delicious. I was serving several rounds of tiki drinks on this occasion, so I ended up serving half of this recipe to each of my guests, and finishing it with a float of Kraken in equal measure to the other ingredients. That was actually an accident, intended for my second round, but it made the drink beautifully aromatic, and I would do it exactly the same way again.

Zombie

1oz Lime Juice
1oz Lemon Juice
1oz Pineapple juice (Must be fresh!)
1oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1oz gold Puerto Rican rum (151 Cruzan)
1oz 151 proof Demerara rum (El Dorado 12)
1oz light Puerto Rican rum (Ron Matusalem)
1oz Spiced Black Rum, Floated (Kraken)
1tsp brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake over ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish as outrageously as possible.

Astute readers will notice that I switched the rums up a bit, out of necessity. I am not so fortunate as to have a bottle of Lemonheart, so I ended up using an 80 proof demerara rum and a 151 proof gold rum. So the demerara and 151 proof requirements were satisfied, but not quite as per usual. By far the most difficult ingredient in this recipe was the passion fruit syrup. Passion fruits are costly, but I was not about to use a commercial product. It’s probably pretty obvious how to make a passion fruit syrup, but just in case:

Passion Fruit Syrup
1 cup water
1.5 cups sugar
pulp from 7 passion fruits
Dissolve the sugar in the water on the stove top, and then add all of the passion fruit pulp. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth and fortify with an ounce of vodka or everclear. (I prefer everclear)

A huge thanks to Fred for hosting MxMo, and Cheers to all the other participants. Full round-up is here.


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Macadamia, Cinnamon, Orange, Rum

I visited my parents’ house last weekend, and it was my great pleasure to mix drinks for my family while I was there. My father’s home bar puts mine to shame, of course, but the majority of his collection consists of whisk(e)ys which are too fine to mix. As such, it was an excellent venue for creativity. I made an orange oleo saccharum, because they did not have any syrups, and I wanted something which would be versatile and unusual. A good oleo saccharum is really nothing more than a citrus syrup, but it is much better than any other type of citrus syrup that one could make, on account of its high oil content.

As I was searching the bar for spirits to pair with it, I spied a bottle of the now defunct Hawaiian Macadamia nut liqueur, Adamia, and I knew that I could put it to good use. I live in an old building in the city, and my appliances are old if they even exist, but my parents enjoy all the luxury of modern suburban kitchen accoutrements, including a refrigerator that makes crushed ice. Though I do not mind crushing ice with a mallet and Lewis bag, I was immediately drawn to the simple convenience of holding the glass underneath the ice dispenser and pressing “crush”.

Glass of crushed ice firmly in hand, I resolved to make something tiki, and the next thing I needed was rum. Fortunately, my father had a bottle of Dogfish Head’s Brown Honey Rum, which is probably the most unusual rum I have had the pleasure of tasting. It greets the palate with a strong honey flavor which is loud and clear even underneath lime juice, macadamia nut liqueur, and orange oleo saccharum. Dogfish Head also makes some of the weirdest (and most delicious) beers on the market, so it’s no surprise that they would also make very unusual rums and gin. Now I’m hoping they get around to doing an amaro.

Tkach Tiki Delux

1.5 oz Dogfish Head Brown Honey Rum
1 oz Macadamia Nut Liqueur (Adamia)
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Orange Oleo Saccharum

Shake over ice and then pour over crushed ice. Break a cinnamon stick in half and insert it into the ice. Spear a lime wheel with one of the cinnamon sticks.

When you use high quality ingredients, tiki drinks practically make themselves. The crushed ice will add extra dilution to the drink once it reaches the glass, on account of its high ratio of surface area to volume. As such, a little more sugar is needed to make the drink pop. Depending on the rum you use, you’ll need to adjust your proportions a bit to make sure that the liqueur, the rum, and the lime are in balance. It’s not always going to be exactly the same, but the key is that each flavor in the drink is strongly salient.

And please, do not neglect the cinnamon garnish. The crushed ice will totally dull any nose that you might otherwise get on the drink, and half the value of crushed ice is that it can be used to lodge various spices and herbs. Of all the different drink formats, crushed ice provides the most maneuverability in creating your drink’s aroma. The smell of cinnamon combined with the nutty liqueur was positively paradisaical. It is important to break the cinnamon stick, and leave the broken side sticking out, as this will release the most fragrant oil.


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Kingston Club

Via Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the Kingston Club is one of the best drinks I have tried in a long time. Seattle finally decided to get warm, so I’ve been drinking lots of highballs in an attempt to beat the heat. I’ve also been ordering highballs around the city, and I’m disappointed to tell you that even many craft bars will manage to screw up this format. The most common mistake I see is the failure to use enough ice. When you make a rocks drink, it is essential that you fill the glass completely with ice. If you don’t, it will melt too quickly, and you will be left with a watery highball, its flavor a mere specter of your intention.

For this reason, I don’t recommend ordering a highball when you are eating at a restaurant; even if the bartender was diligent, it may take your server a while to bring you the drink, and the ice will melt. I can’t remember where I heard this line, but I like to tell my guests to “drink it before the ice gets scared”.

I’d never owned a bottle of Drambuie before last week, and this was the drink that convinced me to make the purchase. I love its peppery, scotchy flavor, and I was intrigued by Morgenthaler’s use of this spirit as the base of a Tiki drink.

Kingston Club

1.5 oz Drambuie
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
.75 oz Lime juice
1 tsp Fernet Branca
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Fill a Collins glass with ice and one ounce of soda water. Shake over ice and strain. Garnish with an orange peel.

If you followed the link above, you saw that his was a lot prettier than mine, but that’s OK, because mine was just as delicious. You would think that equal parts of liqueur and fresh pineapple juice would be too sweet, but the level of citrus in this drink was perfect, making it much dryer than I had anticipated. When I was planning to make this drink, I remembered it as having rather more Fernet than it actually does, but when I went to make it, I discovered it had only a teaspoon, which is exactly equivalent to 1/8 of one ounce.

Those who have been reading for a while will recall my love of Fernet and Pineapple, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to make this. As such, I apologize for the low amount of Fernet in this drink, and I will try to find one for you that has substantially more in the near future.


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Sun Liquor: Libby’s Mai Tai

I visited the Sun Liquor Lounge for my friend John’s birthday. The Seattle weather gods must have been in a very unusual mood that day, because as I recall it was sunny and warm, and the Mai Tai sounded most appealing to everyone there. I am fond of the Sun Liquor Lounge’s aesthetic of faux orientalism, and I think that their menu is reasonably put together, with an appropriately-sized selection of modern drinks and updates to classics.

I think the menu mostly speaks for itself. Another Bond Girl is a playful and modern take on a Vesper, the Kentucky Cardinal tastefully employs a shrub as its souring agent, and the addition of rhubarb to the Bee’s Knees is a great way to incorporate an unusual and seasonal ingredient. This is all capital stuff.

Everyone in our party, however, opted to drink the Libby’s Mai Tai. I was a bit skeptical, because the drink as described is a pretty significant departure from the classic Mai Tai, which calls for no grenadine and no pineapple juice, and for orange liqueur instead of orange juice. I quite bravely ordered one, anyway. As you can see, it came in a tremendously large tiki glass:

The bartender built the drink in glass, neither stirring nor shaking. Such constructions are a delicate procedure, in which the order of the pours matters, because each ingredient has a different weight, and a proper integration requires that each ingredient be heavier than the last so that they will all fall in together. One upside to a skillful in-glass construction is that it produces beautiful color gradients across the drink, as can be seen here. This is, obviously, the function of the grenadine in the drink, though candidly, I could have done without it.

Although the drink definitely caters to a sweet-craving palate, it was not cloying and it is highly appropriate to the tiki genre. Still, one of my favorite parts of drinking a mai tai is the aroma of fresh mint from the garnish, which was sadly absent. Even so, I like the Sun Liquor lounge and I think their style and the quality of their drinks is respectable without being pretentious.

If you want to make their Mai Tai, you’re going to need some fresh grenadine, which you can make by combining equal parts of fresh pomegranate juice and sugar, and shaking them together until they are fully integrated. Caster’s sugar will dissolve better than regular white sugar, but either works. The critical thing with grenadine is to never heat it up. The best flavor comes from a cold process; heating it will cause many of the darker, earthier tones in the juice to break down, leaving only a candy sweetness. I’m going to give you Jefferey Morgenthaler‘s recipe, even though I haven’t tried it with the pomegranate molasses.

Grenadine
2 cups Fresh Pomegranate Juice (approximately two large pomegranates) or POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice
2 cups Unbleached Sugar
2 oz Pomegranate Molasses
1 tsp Orange Flower Water

This is probably more than you need for your home bar, so I would probably halve it. If you add an ounce of vodka or neutral grain spirit, it will preserve the syrup for about a month. I like my Mai Tais a little dryer than the one at Sun Liquor, so if I were to recreate it, I would start here:

Libby’s Mai Tai?

1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Orgeat syrup
.5 oz Grenadine

Shake over ice and double-strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig, damnit.

Keep in mind that I have not tasted this recipe, and it’s probably not exactly right. I guarantee my version uses more lime juice than theirs did, but then, I was trying to dry it out. If you want a more accurate recreation, I would drop the lime down to one ounce. With so much sweet fruit juice, you’re going to end up with something a little heavier than you want in the summer, maybe.


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Missionary’s Downfall: Blended Pineapple and Mint

For a cocktail party, I decided to get my Tiki on and make a ridiculously complicated drink. Usually, those two aims are at cross purposes, but I chose a blended drink, which allowed me to produce happiness in large batches. I did a little bit of research before attempting to make the Missionary’s Downfall, and I ended up using this recipe from Doug.

Most of the other recipes I found called for whole pineapple instead of pineapple juice, which probably would have made the drink more viscous, but I enjoyed the icy purity of this variation. Part of me always feels a little dirty making a sweet, tropical blended drink, because I worry that it’s a slippery slope to the slippery nipple and other such sophomoric drivel.  It’s just so accessible, isn’t it? So convenient. Where is the whole egg? Where is the challenging quantity of Cynar?

Indeed, as I was pouring this my inner bar snob started swearing quietly in the back of my brain about amari and liqueurs with secret recipes known only by a handful of monks, but you can’t listen to the haters. Fresh pineapple and mint is delicious, and I even managed to sneak in some of my favorite rum, J. Wray and Nephew.

Missionary’s Downfall

.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Apricot Brandy (Rothman and Winter)
1 oz. Honey Syrup
1 oz. White Rum (J. Wray and Nephew)
1.5 oz Fresh Pineapple juice
10-20 Mint Leaves
6 oz. Small or Crushed Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

For the honey syrup, check out the writeup I did on the Sleepy Bear. I couldn’t really taste the apricot in this, but the flavor was exotic and balanced, and the mint was not too overpowering. In fact, the drink was surprisingly dry, and the mint sprig, planted in the middle of the ice, looks like a tiny tree. It’s true, the mint sprig in my picture fell over, but it was my fault for cutting it too large; I was making these at a party, and speed won out over photography. Even so, I was pleased by the appearance of the drink, with tiny fragments of mint intermixed among the particles of ice.

One of the really excellent things about blended drinks is that you can make them five at a time, so they are well-suited for larger gatherings. When blending a drink, a higher ratio of ice to other ingredients will result in a fluffier texture, while slightly diluting the flavor. Less ice will make the drink a bit more soupy, which will cause it to melt faster, but the flavors will be more concentrated. In order to get the optimum texture while preserving the flavor, good blended drinks require more sugar, to intensify the flavor against the dilution.

That’s exactly what we see here, with an ounce of syrup, an ounce and a half of sweet juice, and half an ounce of liqueur to a relatively scarce ounce of rum and half ounce of lime. If you were to shake this drink instead, you would find it cloying.


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Malibooya! Rum Daisy in Coconut

Note: If you came here looking for Kanye’s “recipe” in his song, this is my take on it, and it bears only a vague resemblance to what he says in the song. If you want to make the recipe from song, I suggest the following proportion:
1.5 oz Grey Goose Vodka
.5 oz Malibu Coconut “Rum”
Combine all in a mixing glass with ice and stir 40 times. Stirring with ice dilutes the drink, in addition to making it colder, so that it will taste smoother. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. This recipe tastes like shite, so I humbly suggest that you use also add one ounce of coconut water, from a brand such as Zico or Vita Coconut Water. If you really want to class it up, of course, read on:

In the words of the philosopher Kanye West:

Chick came up to me and said,
This the number to dial
If you wanna make your #1 your #2 now
Mix the Goose and Malibu, I call it Mali-BOOYA

As you probably know, we don’t believe in Vodka here at Measure and Stir, except for fortifying syrups and disinfecting minor cuts and scrapes. We also don’t believe in Malibu, which is probably the least appetizing thing in the world ever to be labelled rum. Indeed, on account of Mr. West, I now refer to any drink as Malibooya when its chief components are drawn from the following: (Flavored or not) Vodka, Malibu, Midori, Jager, Sour Apple Pucker, Peach Schnapps, low-proof fruit-flavored “liqueurs”, red bull, sprite, and pasteurized orange juice.

Even so, I sometimes hear the siren song of coconut rum, whose call I answer by pouring J. Wray and Nephew into a coconut. And yes, I did, in fact, put lime in the coconut, and then I proceeded to “drink it all up”. Though to be honest, even though I adore fresh coconut water, I’m not sold on it as an ingredient for a mixed drink; coconut milk and cream provide a much more rounded and robust coconut flavor, because they incorporate the qualities of the coconut meat, and the richness of its fat, into the drink. Coconut water is so thin that it almost makes this a grog.

(not my greatest photo, I know)

Malibooya #2

3 oz Fresh Young Coconut Water
2 oz Traditional Rum (Wray and Nephew)
.75 oz Curacao (Clement Creole Shrub)
.5 oz Lime Juice

Drain a fresh young coconut, and measure out just enough coconut water for your drink. Shake all ingredients over ice, then double strain and funnel back into the coconut. Drink it through a straw.

The more astute of you will have noticed that this is a rum daisy that has been diluted with fresh coconut water. I put my coconut in the freezer for half an hour before I drained them, so that the interior of the shell would be cold. A true bad-ass of tiki would, of course, lop off the top of the coconut with a machete, instead of just punching a hole in it with his ice pick, but my training is not yet complete, and I have yet to purchase a machete. (Incidentally, can anyone recommend a good one?)

If I had done that, I would have been able to fill the coconut with ice, and it would have been a much better drinking experience for this relatively low-proof drink. Drinking out of a coconut is a lot of fun, but I regretted my choice of Clement Creole Shrub in this drink. CCS (as we say in the biz) has a very robust orange flavor, and it stomped on the relatively light coconut flavor. You would be better off with Cointreau (or similar) for this one.