Tuesday, July 31, 2007

6) Strawberry Mojito

.75 oz. Sailor Jerry rum
.75 oz. Neisson white rhum
.5 oz. agave nectar
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
2 strawberries
8 mint leaves

In a hiball glass muddle the strawberries and mint with the agave nectar. Add the rest of the ingredients, ice, then top with soda. Garnish with a mint leaf and strawberry.

Our initial idea was to pair the rum with blueberries (frankly, I think it was just because Ed wanted to name the drink sailor berry). We started with the base by muddling a handful of blueberries with the Sailor Jerry. It tasted great, and we figured all we needed were a few touches to round out the flavors and we'd be set. Unfortunately the blueberries turned out to be a rather intractable foe.

We tried many things and each time we lost both the notes of the berries and the rum. It was about that time that H. dropped by the bar and we quickly fell upon him for some advice. He (very politely) agreed that our drinks were...Lacking and began rattling off numerous suggestions for ways in which we could punch things up*. We quickly seized upon the suggestion of Neisson white rhum (made with pure sugar cane rather than the more ubiquitous molasses).

It was Ed's idea to pull back a little and make a variation on a classic cocktail - the Mojito. After a flurry of mint, blueberries, and booze we were ready to call it a day with another drink of the week done. Except for the part that the drink sucked. The blueberries were doing nothing but mocking us with their useless, broken bodies. Riding on the hopes that they would be more flavorful, we decided to give strawberries a try. Fortunately for our sanity, the strawberries were perfect. They help up well to the rums and made and excellent compliment to the mint and lime juice while none of the said elements overwhelmed the flavors of the rums.

*Talking to H. about cocktails is like talking to Schrödinger about his cat.

Comments? Turned off. Why? Because comment spam keeps me up at night. Well, comment spam, and my neighbor who is just learning to play the drums. If you'd like to contact us you can hit us up at drinkaweek at gmail dot com.

Friday, July 27, 2007

5) Elixir Café

1 oz. Maker's Mark
3/4 oz. Starbucks coffee liqueur
.5 oz. Navan vanilla cognac
1 tbs. cream

Add all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for thirty seconds. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a light dusting of coco powder.

It's a two for one this week - we're on fire!

Ed and I were still on a bit of a whiskey kick after the Rusty Bullet so wanted to do another whiskey based cocktail. My eye was drawn to a bottle of Starbucks coffee liqueur sitting on the back bar. As a long time fan of the combination of coffee and whiskey it seemed like a good way to start a cocktail. I was feeling a bit sassy so thought that the addition of a vanilla flavor would be nice as well. I suggested vanilla vodka - Ed looked a bit skeptical then pulled out a bottle and said, "Check this out."

It was Navan vanilla cognac, something I had not seen before. The flavors of both vanilla and alcohol were mild, but pleasant - Not thing sort of thing I'd drink on its own, but seemed like a good fit for the other ingredients. For the whiskey we chose Maker's Mark as it tends to be an excellent all purpose whiskey.

In our initial run we used one ounce of the coffee liqueur, a half ounce of Maker's and a half ounce of the cognac. I liked it, but Ed thought the whiskey was totally buried by the coffee liqueur. After several more sips I found I had to agree (damn you Ed!). Ed thought ramping up the whiskey while slightly cutting the liqueur would solve the problem. We also found during our initial tweaking that mixing in the whipped cream added a nice roundness to the overall flavor so decided on adding just a touch of cream to the final cocktail as well.

The final product was substantially improved. The whiskey was clearly front and center, but well tempered by the coffee and vanilla notes. It pretty much tasted like an iced vanilla latte that had been spiked with a generous shot of delicious, delicious whiskey. Took me back to my late morning college class days I tell ya.

Comments are turned off. Why? Because comment spam is a thorn in my side, and I've already got enough of those damn things to worry about. Seriously - Why I planted a blackberry bush in my bathtub is beyond me. If you'd like to get in touch with us however, you may do so at drinkaweek at gmail dot com.

Monday, July 23, 2007

4) Rusty Bullet

1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
.5 oz. Drambuie

Fill a rocks glass half way with ice, add the Bulleit and Drambuie, and stir. Garish with a twist of lemon.

Make sure that the twist is fresh, and that you hold the lemon over the drink as you pull the twist off the fruit. It may sound a bit nitpicky, but the essential oils released into the cocktail from the lemon add an extra dimension to the overall flavor. As has been said by more talented people than I, it's like salt in cooking. You don't really notice it when it's there, but you sure as hell notice it when it's gone (I don't think they say "hell", but Ed and I? We're rebels).

This one went quite smoothly for us, and is a good illustration of the idea that sometimes the simplest drink can be the most rewarding. I pretty much wanted to do a Bulleit/Drambuie cocktail cause I had fallen in love with the idea of having a drink call a Rusty Bullet. Why are you looking at me like that?

Ed picked out the proportions, and I thought the idea of garnishing it with a bruised mint leaf would put a unique twist on it. Ed didn't agree with me, because he's a killjoy - I'm not just saying that because he's better at this than I am either. He was lemon all the way, so of course we made one of each (oh the horror of having to try several versions of our drinks! It's not easy, but we do it cause we love you). We tried the mint version first and found it less than striking. The mint was hardly present at all, and left the overall drink flat. Also, having a sad, solitary mint leaf floating around in the drink like Joe Gillis was somewhat aesthetically displeasing.

Fortunately the lemon version was a straight up glass o' happiness. You could smell the lemon and Drambuie even before the glass got to your nose, but it wasn't at all overpowering. The drink itself was at a perfect balance - Bulleit has a somewhat higher amount of rye than other bourbons which creates somewhat of a sweet mouth feel which provided an excellent compliment to the herbal notes of the Drambuie, the two being tied well together by the slight hint of citrus.

Comments will be kept off as comment spam sank Atlantis. If you'd like to contact us though, you can send an e-mail to drinkaweek at gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

3) The Day After

2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
3-5 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Fill a pint glass with ice.
Add the Jameson and bitters (I'm a more the better kind of guy myself when it comes to the bitters).
Fill the rest of the glass with the 7-Up.
Try and remember exactly where it was you found that much soy sauce at 3AM.

This simple curative nostrum was a no-brainer. It pretty much came about partly because our first experiment was a sad, vile tasting failure, and Ed was a little too busy to try and tweak it (though God only knows how we could have made anything remotely drinkable out of such a wretched, boozy chimera). It was also partly due to the fact that it was my birthday, and it was almost certain that I would need some sort of restorative the next day.

Comments are turned off because comment spam makes the baby Robert cry (he's very sensitive)! If you'd like to contact us you can hit us up at drinkaweek at gmail.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2) The Saint

1.5 oz. Square One vodka
.5 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
Three dashes peach bitters
.5 oz Cointreau Splash of Oronoco rum
Squeeze of lemon
Squeeze of lime
One strawberry

In a shaker, muddle the strawberry with the bitters.
Add ice, then the rest of the ingredients.
Shake for several mins - You want to get the drink as cold as possible. Ideally you'll get a nice sort of vodka ice sheen when you pour the drink.
Strain into a martini glass and garnish the rim with another strawberry.

Ultimately this was a bit of a tough one. As you'll see by the rather diverse set of ingredients, there was a lot of tweaking. We decided on vodka as the base spirit, and thought a bit about a flavored one, but ultimately chose plain old vodka to give us a neutral place to start. I had recently had a cocktail using St. Germain and had that ingredient in mind - A little taste and smell and I was set on making that the primary flavor. Ed voted for a splash of peach bitters and a strawberry garnish and we were off to the races.

Our first attempt was ok - It smelled fantastic, especially as the strawberry scent came across - but it was pretty flat overall. The top notes were there, but it was missing a floor to compliment it. Ed went for the Cointreau (a true savior, but we gotta get away from it soon) and I went for a few more dashes of bitters. That helped, but we were still missing something. In a fit of desperation I smooshed up a bit of the strawberry and tossed it in (a technique, by the way, which is highly scientific and sanitary). That too helped, but we were still missing a bottom to compliment the top.

Fortunately J. (another excellent bartender) was there to help out.
"Well," He said. "When you're using St. Germain your best bet is to go tropical." Woo hoo! I thought. Woo hoo cause this was my chance to get him to some Oronoco rum for which I have an unnatural (but beautiful!) love for. Ed thought it would also be worthwhile to muddle the strawberry as well to get that smooshed fruit mojo. The final product was excellent. The Oronoco provided the perfect balance to the St. Germain, and the strawberry added a nice hit of fruity sweetness overall.

Told you it was a complicated one.

Comments will be kept off cause comment spam is like Captain Crunch cereal. Just thinking about the way it cuts up my gums give me the jibblies. That totally makes sense. Think about it. If you'd like to contact us though, you can send an e-mail to drinkaweek at gmail.com.

Monday, July 16, 2007

1) Jade Monkey

1 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 oz. green chartreuse
Three dashes orange bitters
Squeeze of lime
Splash of Cointreau

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake for 30 seconds, strain into a high-ball glass filled with ice, then top off with soda. Garnish with a cherry and some lime zest.

Here it is, our inaugural cocktail. I was the one crazy enough to think we should do something with chartreuse, and Ed had the bright idea of liqueur because, you know, it smelled good. Given that foundation I'm surprised it came out so well.

Our first attempt was ok, but not great. The flavor was a bit flat, and our initial ratio of 1 oz of the liqueur to a half oz of chartreuse was definitely a bit low. We had also used some sweet vermouth, and while not a negative flavoring it didn't really do much for the drink and created a somewhat off-putting color.

For our next run we decided to pull out the drink makers secret weapon - Cointreau. With the addition of that, the removal of the vermouth, and the addition of more chartreuse we hit the jackpot. It had an excellent green color, with the liqueur and chartreuse playing off one another beautifully, not too herbal and the cherry coming through just enough. The Cointreau opened up the drink overall perfectly.

Comments will be kept off cause comment spam is crafted my Satan's own demonic hands! If you'd like to contact us though, you can send an e-mail to drinkaweek at gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And this would be?

With a blog titled "Drink A Week", you're probably thinking that this is the place for all your octothorpe information needs. Well you'd be wrong! This is a bold new future, with bold new creamy ranch flavors!

But I digress.

My friend Ed (surprise, he's a bartender) had the good fortune to attend Gary Regan's cocktail class in New York, and returned a cocktail advocate of almost annoying proportions. Of course, when I recently went to New York myself I had him give me a list of places to go. After visiting places such as Pegu, Bemelmans at the Carlyle, and Employees Only I returned a cocktail fiend myself.

Upon my return and visiting Ed at work we decided to see if we could whip up our own cocktail. The result was a rousing success and a blast to create. It didn't take long before we decided that I would come by on Sunday's that we might work on our own cocktail creations. With a couple of cocktails under our gullets it seemed to me that the fun we were having creating these - picking apart the ingredients, figuring out what worked and what was missing - might be of interest to two or three others out there.

I will shortly be posting our initial creations along with notes on our process. Following that I should have a new entry each week.

Comments will be kept off cause comment spam makes me angry. If you'd like to contact us you can send an e-mail to drinkaweek at gmail.com.