Measure & Stir

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


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Bourbon, Suze, Creole Shrubb, Spaten Optimater

This week is beer cocktail week, so we’ll be posting a series of beer drinks. Today’s drink came together almost on its own, although its construction was controversial. Joe and I were trying to think of something to do with his bottle of Suze, maybe a spirit-driven drink. We came up with an idea and had something that tasted marvelous, but then Joe wanted to pour beer all over it. We debated whether or not we should add beer for about five minutes, and in the end Joe convinced me and we did it. I must say that it was worth it.

kaiser suze

Kaiser Suze
1.5 oz Bourbon
.25 oz Suze
.25 oz Creole Shrubb
Dash of aromatic bitters (Angostura)

Stir over ice, strain. Top with 2.5 oz Spaten Optimater (or any doppelbock will do). Garnish with an orange twist.

The beer we chose was Spaten Optimater, which is a dark German malt beer. On its own, it has a floral, malty, toasty bouquet and tastes of dark fruits – maybe prunes – and caramel, and finishes with a slight bitterness. What convinced me about this beer? Well, it just tastes great with bourbon. Also, this is one of Joe’s all-time favorite beers (as well as his father’s, so I’m told), and so in it went.

kaiser suze2

Even without the beer, this drink tastes great. With the beer, though, it tastes even better, although it does loose a bit of its hard edge. The beer’s caramel and dark fruit flavors complement the bourbon, and its sourness emphasized the bitterness of Suze. The creole shrubb is almost a cheater’s ingredient (it’s so tasty!), and the citrus notes in the beer help it feel at home in the glass.

Enjoy!


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Peach Sangria

For a party last weekend, James and I made peach sangria. Most people, I have found, are skeptical when I tell them that I am going to serve them sangria. They have, perhaps, a mental image of a cloying wine kool aid, syrupy, carbonated, disgusting. But sangria can be also be beautiful, subtle, sophisticated… if only you treat her like a lady. First, in my mind, there is no room in red sangria for fruit juice or carbonation*. Rather I like to make it as an infusion of fruit in wine, fortified with spirits. In this instance I followed my go-to recipe, which I am going to share with you now, but with one modification; last time I made this sangria, I had not yet learned the secrets of oleo saccharum, that most unctuous of syrups, and I felt a strong intuition that it would improve the subtle orange qualities of the drink.

(*We did a white sangria not too long ago, which contained both fruit juice and sparkling wine, but it was a different beast all together. Really, “white sangria” is a bit of an oxymoron.)

Take a look here, feast your eyes on all those glorious citrus oils floating on its surface:

Peach Sangria
6 Bottles of Your Favorite Rioja
500 ml Triple Sec (Cointreau)
500 ml Cognac (Salignac)
Oleo Saccharum of 12 Oranges
6 lbs of Peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
Allow the mixture to infuse over night, and then top with two sliced lemons right before serving. Pour over ice as you serve.

The brandy in this recipe is critical, for it adds notes of wooden complexity that give the drink a three dimensional quality on the palate. Without it, the punch tastes a bit flat. What is perhaps most striking about this sangria is its dryness. Though it acquires a mellow peach roundness, it retains the dry tannin notes from the rioja, a wine which, as a genre, has hints of strawberry and vanilla that marry well with orange and peach. Whenever I need to serve a lot of drinks in a pinch, this is my method. It does not work in the winter months, when peaches are scarce, but in summer it is perfect for a trip to the beach or an afternoon barbecue.

Indeed, these were the last peaches of the season. I have played with the idea of infusing spices into the wine for winter, but I’m not sure if that can still properly be called sangria. Cheers!


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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.


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Gin Daisy

I swear there is a classic cocktail with this (or very nearly this) recipe, but I can’t remember what it is for the life of me, so I’m just going to call it a gin daisy. After I had the good fortune to acquire a bottle of Clement Creole Shrub, I felt a strong impulse to make a drink that would highlight this marvelous liqueur. Gin is often the most unobtrusive spirit when you need a modifying flavor agent to take the front seat, so I decided to make a gin Daisy. A daisy is simply a sour in which the sweetening agent is a liqueur instead of a syrup, and it is generally served up.

To insure the proper balance, we built this drink iteratively, tasting every element as it was added. This process is essential when mixing with unfamiliar ingredients, but sometimes it can take you in an unexpected direction. After building the basic sour, something was missing, so we added a quarter ounce of dry vermouth, and it contributed the exact flavors and complexity that the drink was missing.

Gin Daisy

1.5 oz Gin (Hayman’s Old Tom)
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Orange Liqueur (Clement Creole Shrubb)
.25 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)

Shake over ice and double-strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

I confess, my orange wheel was having some structural integrity issues, but it made a good enough photo, and still served the essential purpose of contributing fresh orange notes to the aroma of the drink. Gin Daisies are highly underrated in my opinion, and a great way to beat the heat.