Amaretto Sour

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There are numerous examples of things which have been classified as “chick-drinks”.  The moniker has probably been around as long as drinking itself when it was felt that women couldn’t handle the kind of hard drinking that men preferred.  This is nonsense of course, but that didn’t stop the Victorians on down from relegating women to things like wine-spritzers instead of the really hard stuff.

I do have friends who prefer drinks where the flavors of alcohol are muted or absent.  Picking drinks where there is little to no hard alcohol, or replacing it with liqueurs is one sure way to ensure that they’re not put off by a concoction.

Perhaps the king of those type of drinks is the Amaretto Sour.  Where many casual drinkers run for the soda fountain to mask their libations, I personally started out with these.   At 24% ABV amaretto isn’t exactly topping the charts and cut in half with sour mix you’re topping a heavy wine or a hefty microbrew for punch.

Amaretto Sour:

1.5 oz Amaretto
2 oz Sour Mix
Add ice, Stir, Garnish with Maraschino Cherry.

 

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Now a couple of things to note here.  If something calls for sour mix in the future I will be making my own.  I’ll try to make that clear, as I have seen other bloggers and YouTube people who don’t mention that they make their own and it occasionally puts people off of a drink.

Next, I’m not using the maraschino cherries I made awhile back.  They’re not done yet, so they stay in the jar and I get to use up the last of the processed ones that were hanging around the fridge.

The quality of amaretto is everything there.  The stuff I’m using, as you can see above, is a local product.  That doesn’t make it good.  It’s cheap, and sweet, and that’s about all one can say in favor of it.  I often find with this brand that I have to water my drinks just to get something that isn’t cloying.  Be picky about your amaretto.  While to most people it tastes like cherry, most amaretto is made from almond extracts.

What a lot of people don’t know is that apricot pits carry some of the same flavors, as do a number of other stone fruits.  Disaronno in particular is entirely made from apricot pits.  Some of the cheaper brands may even go so far as to use Benzaldehyde the chemical in natural flavoring that gives things like Cherry Coke their flavor.

So when you are looking at amaretto don’t assume that since you’re likely going to mix it, that flavor doesn’t matter.

As a mixer it has a lot of flexibility and is a frequent substitute for Orgeat syrups in tiki drinks.

Mudder’s Milk Part 2

Tapback: Mudder’s Milk

So, I’ve set my sails and I have a goal in sight.  The idea to make either a late night drink that will sub out a meal while you’re drinking or a breakfast drink you can whip up in a hurry without having to slave over a hot stove.

The idea of choice was oatmeal.  It’s already a pretty close friend with milk, swapping out a measure of the cream for Irish Cream isn’t beyond thinkable.  But a number of hurdles stand in the way.

For starters I haven’t really cooked oatmeal much before so the nuance there is going to escape me.  Second, we’re looking for something drinkable.  Having to chew is a distant desire on the list of things we would like to have.

So I came up with a couple of possibilities.

Test #1: No pictures because I was dumb and forgot.  It was a late night experiment.  For starters I stewed some apples.  I did far too much for a test batch.  Two whole apples to 1 cup oats was not doing it.  I spiced the apples with quite a few things looking for a taste that would finish out the batch.  Allspice, cloves, cinnamon, possibly coriander, definitely nutmeg.  I didn’t taste most of them in the finished product.   Could be the balance of spice is off could be that I didn’t give the spices time in the oats.  I’m going to try simpler settings, start with sugar/cinnamon add items from there.  No irish cream in the house at the time I was doing this, I used a somewhat crappy chocolate cream liqueur that had been doggedly hanging on like an unwanted party guest.  Next time coole swan or something better for sure.  Need heavy cream for testing.
2 apples cubed and stewed with a small amount of lemon juice until soft.  Added nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, ground ginger, turmeric.
add 1 cup water, 3/4 cup whole milk, bring to boil.
add 1 cup oats, cook 5 minutes.  Add cream liqueur to top and loosen.

Verdict, good first pass.  Now I know what not to do next time.  Taste was ok but consistency was way off.

Test #2:

In an effort to cut down on the lumpiness of the previous experiment this batch was going to see the business end of a stick blender before I was done.

1 Apple, peeled cubed and sweated with agave nectar.
Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
1 1/2 cup of Heavy Whipping cream, brought to a slight boil
1 cup quaker oats

Once the cooking process was done and the oats looked soft enough I applied the stick blender.  Now at this point the entire mess was a bit off.  Owing to the fats in the cream it had become a sticky blob in the pot and was not loose at all.  The application of the blender, I was later to find, was to release all of the starches bound up in the oats at once which made the previously sticky blob into a bona fide glue.

Which is not to say that the day was without victory.  The resulting glue was even, smooth and had a very nice feel in the mouth.  The apples were not obvious in either flavor or shape.  I’m betting that was my other mistake.  Agave nectar is not as hygroscopic as baker’s sugar and it didn’t draw out the moisture of the apples enough to soften them.

So three steps backwards, one forwards.  But we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

Mudder’s Milk: Part the First

180px-Jaynes_hatA little background about the series of posts I’m going to be doing on this topic.  While this is a drink creation it isn’t the kind of thing one might normally find in a bar or even in a restaurant I’m hoping it will eventually be something unique and tasty.

For starters those who don’t know what Mudder’s Milk references need to go out and buy a copy of the firefly box set.  The show is 10 years old, only had half a season and it still blows the doors off of most stuff on TV today.

The crew lands on a moon where the primary export is mud used to make ceramics and most of the inhabitants are indentured servants, basically slaves.  The bar in the worker village serves a (presumably) disgusting “beer” called Mudder’s Milk.  As Jayne describes it “All the protein, vitamins and carbs of your grandma’s best turkey dinner, plus fifteen percent alcohol.”

They go on to describe it as liquid bread used to keep the workers healthy and knock them out to prevent revolt.

I had the good fortune to meet a woman who spent time with one of the local pirate groups.  There are apparently several, and similar to the SCA they do a bit of period recreation and more than a bit of camping, hanging out and drinking.  She served as both ships cook and alchemist, meaning that she made up the menus and bought all of the alcohol for their little crew.  We traded ideas back and forth about mixed drinks, alcohol quality, camping equipment and ease of transport.  After a few drinks and quite a bit of conversation the question became if anyone had developed a drinkable version of Mudder’s Milk or if someone had made a cocktail of the same name.

Casual research didn’t turn up much:
Item 1 was an attempt to do justice to the quote mechanically, but a combination of cider, Guinness, milk, rye and vodka not to mention the whey powder and multi-vitamins was beyond gross sounding.

Item 2 Similar idea but easier execution.  Still, soy milk and brewers yeast are not in my list of best drink ingredients.  Nor is the combination of soy and grain alcohol really much of a crowd pleaser.

Item 3 Actually comes from a reference to the same drink as an item in World of Warcarft.  I was more pleased with the results here but it’s really just a white Russian with milk and bailey’s.   Nothing original here.

Item 4 Is actually a site for home brewers giving options for making your own beer.  I’m not much of a beer drinker, or any kind of brewer so I can’t say much about these except that the highest one caps out just above 10% ABV which isn’t anything like the 15% claimed in the show.

So lacking anything unique, tasty, complete or appropriate it behooved me as a budding bartender to correct this mistake and make something both good to drink and in keeping with as much of the quote as I felt necessary.

Pineapple Trainwreck : Drink Review

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I’m told rather reliably that the name of this drink is shared by a popular breed of medicinal Mary Jane.  The Pineapple Trainwreck is a whimsical cocktail that you can find the recipe for on the Imbibe magazine website.  I had mine at Oven and Shaker in Portland.

Much like the Dragon’s Tail this drink focuses on the ginger as the telling ingredient here.  But unlike the tail this ginger has more of the bite you would expect of the fresh root.

Not overpowering given the amount of citrus it has to work with, the ginger and the bitters make the mouth on this drink.  The Bacardi knows when to get out of the way giving the other ingredients a chance to shine.  It never felt forced and was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.  The sour cherry at the end was perfectly sweet to offset the citrus.

Fresh pressed juice is always the biggest factor in a lot of good cocktails and you can see in this one that it really is the best way to put quality up front.

The Old Fashioned

OldFashioned

If you do even the most casual of research, the title “Old Fashioned” can be applied to a list of drinks as long as your arm.

Some include the makings of a fruit cocktail to rival a Hawaiian hotel Mai-tai.  Some are splashed with soda water and twists of this and that.  Over the years as things have progressed in drink culture the “Old Fashioned” has become more of an expression of the cocktail than a recipe itself.

Even the description of an Old Fashioned is vague enough to cover an entire range of drinks.  made by muddling dissolved sugar with bitters then adding alcohol, such as whiskey or brandy, and a twist of citrus rind.

Without even having to nit pick you have an open ended listing for the sugar, the main spirit and the type of citrus.  The only core components here are sugar and muddling.

The Dr. Cocktail recipe I snagged from my copy of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails doesn’t even get into amounts it simply decries the rather mishmash nature of the drink up to present and then exhorts the reader to make it as he selects which is 2 dashes angostura bitters, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, a few drops of water , a broad swathe of orange peel and a good rye or bourbon.

I made this version myself and I can say that it isn’t bad.  I used Regans Orange Bitters and the new bottle of Burnside Bourbon I picked up.  I’m still a bit new at muddling but I’m going to poke around and see if there really is anything to it.  Soak the sugar with water until it’s moist, add bitters and muddle with orange peel.  An ounce and a half of bourbon and a short stir later and you’re in business.

After a few sips I can see the desire to play around with this.  Orange peel and orange bitters give it a nice aroma and the taste is fine.  A dash of Orange Curacao would I think give it the same effect and indeed that is common for a number of Old Fashioned versions.  As cocktails go this is about as simple as a pink gin.  Liquor + bitters = drink.  I have to say that if you’re buying a good rye or bourbon that there isn’t much of a need for the orange or the sugar.  They don’t offset the alcohol flavor in any way you’d note and they do play fast and loose with the bourbon flavors which can be quite subtle.

Given that bitters and a muddling stick aren’t going to be commonplace at the lower class of household bar I think this one can stay on the shelf and I’ll have my bourbon neat.