Mudder’s Milk Part 4: Coming to a Middle

To Recap:  Mudders Milk 1  In which we set our sails to distraction

Mudders Milk 2 In which we fail and learn that having to eat your mistakes can still be damn tasty.

Mudders Milk 3: Where we try Cold Soaking

Welcome back everyone to my attempt to create a drinkable oatmeal cocktail.  In our previous episode we tried cold soaking the oatmeal with some very good results.  Suggestions were made as to how to proceed and we present the results.

premud 1

Using a small blender I took about 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats and powdered them.  I was expecting something a bit more like steel cut oats but instead wound up with something more like oat flour.

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I fouled the next step.  Normally with cold oats you only need a small amount of liquid to get the whole thing going since none of it is going to boil off.  I could have done a half cup to 3/4 cup of milk but being out of milk at the time I instead used water and didn’t bother to check my notes and used 1.5 cups of water.

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The result was thin and after a stir looked pretty smooth.  I placed the container in the fridge overnight and prayed that I wouldn’t have to start over.

Mudder's Milk4-1In the morning the container had separated putting a small quantity of cloudy water on top of the layer of oatmeal.  I poured this off and was left with what you see above in the first photo.  The texture is pretty good, the smell and flavor are about a hundred times better than the baby oatmeal I tried and this looks like it’s going to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 2 is apples.  All previous attempts have resulted in apples with a slightly chunky texture that is not ideal for drinking.

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We start by peeling and coring.  Then dice them into small mostly uniform pieces.

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Add a little baker’s sugar so the apples will sweat and about an ounce of water to get them started.  Next season with ground cinnamon and grated fresh nutmeg.

After a little time I added another ounce of water to help them soften and stir periodically to keep them from sticking.

After a good 10-15 minutes the apples were still not very soft and I’m starting to think that I need a different approach to them.  So I pulled them off the stove and into a solid bowl for a good muddling with my Oxo Steel Muddler.  I like this thing a lot, Wood makes me edgy about flavor carry over and the thing eventually wearing out and putting splinters in my drinks.  I don’t have a good history with wooden kitchen implements so this muddler feels good being both solid metal in the rod and plastic on the head for cleaning.

It made pretty short work of the apples but at the end they were still pretty solid.  Another approach is definitely needed.

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I added the muddled apples and the oatmeal back into the pot for a little heating and blending.  At this point I made mistake number two which was to forget to season the oatmeal.  This stuff is bland, bland bland when it’s plain and for this drink I need something that is going to help mask the alcohol.  The seasoning on the apples hasn’t been able to carry the day before and this time was no exception.

This part only took about 2-3 minutes and if you’re prepping this stuff for camping or events this is the point at which you can do you run out of pre-prep.  All the previous steps can be done hours in advance and set aside.

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Once the mixture was warm enough that cold booze wasn’t going to make the effort pointless I spooned the now somewhat more solid oatmeal into a parfait glass.  This is about 4-6 tablespoons.

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For this attempt we’re going to use some Silver Bacardi Rum and a bottle of dirt cheap Emmet’s Irish Cream.  I would use Coole swan for this in the end but I’m not going to waste the good stuff on an unsure outcome.  You might ask, why rum?  The original effort for this came from a discussion with a lovely pirate girl and so I’m using rum in an effort to keep at least the sousant of piratical flavor.

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1 oz of Silver Rum
1.5 oz of Irish Cream

Stir well in the glass and you should wind up with something like this:

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Flavor: Harsh on the alcohol side.  This could be too much rum or just cheap irish cream that is the problem but it does make me think that I haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of alcohol I’m using in this.  The oatmeal is fine and the apples are tasty.

Texture: The oatmeal is perfect.  No clumps until right at the end when I’d let the glass settle a bit and even then it wasn’t big enough to stop drinking.  The apples were still huge and did require chewing.

Problems: Oatmeal was bland.  I need to season on both the apples AND oatmeal and sweeten with some brown sugar before I add the apples.

Apples were still huge: I’m thinking either putting them through a food mill, blender, or stewing them in more liquid rather than sort of poaching them like I have been doing.  Applesauce seems like a good idea for some reason but I have a feeling that it won’t work out as well as what I have been doing.  They need to be softer and mushy but not liquid.

Boozey: With both rum and bad irish cream this was a hit in the mouth every drink.  The irish cream is a for sure but using something like coole swan is going to help.  Less rum, this is an AM drink and doesn’t need that much of a hit.  I’m also thinking of something a bit more flavorful like barenjager, which is a honey liqueur and is very creamy and might help with the need for less sugar.

 

Flavors and Tastes

A lot of things can be said for liquor, but one that will seldom be uttered is that liquor is tasteless and boring.  Sure if you drink only the best premium vodka then you’re likely to have that problem, but there is a world of flavors both excellent and sublime that tickle the imagination and tantalize the senses.

For those not already familiar the western type of culinary practice now recognizes 5 types of basic flavors Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, and Umami.  Umami is the most recent addition and conforms to a richness of flavor found in many meats, fermented foods and things like soy sauce.  For a long while it was thought that these flavors resided in specific areas on the tongue.  This was disproved in 1974 but the myth still lingers today.  Your tongue is capable of tasting a lot of different things depending on how the receptors on your tongue are stimulated.

One of the more interesting aspects of taste is the Pungent-Spicy/Coolness divide.  Spicy foods like peppers that contain capsaicin create their unique sensation by activating the same nerves that give the body pain.  Especially those that respond to heat or abrasion.  Because the brain is getting signals from a heat/pain receptor it classifies the sensation as “hot”.  Similar effects can be had from things like menthol or camphor as they target the nerves which detect cold.  You are not actually hot or cold but the pain receptors in your mouth are being stimulated in that same fashion.

Alcohols like creme de menthe, aftershock, Fireball whiskey, Hot Monkey, and SinFire all take advantage of this type of sensation to add experience to their liquor.

Numbness as a sensation is a bit harder to achieve.  To my knowledge there are not many drinks that attempt this but it isn’t out of the realm of the possible.  Some varieties of asian chili peppers have this quality and chili pepper vodka has become very popular in the last few years.
Astringency, Metallic, and Calcium tastes are not necessarily good things in an alcohol but they are sensations of taste all the same.  Astringency can be a dry feeling in the mouth.  This is not comparable to dry wines which are simply unsweet, but more to the puckering sensation in the mouth similar to skin stretching as it dies out.  One of the most common flavors to have this sensation are Sloe Berries used to make Sloe Gin.

Fattiness – Fat is the seat of flavor.  In meat all of the most important flavor components come from the fat portions and a good amount of fat marbled into the meat is considered the mark of the best kinds and cuts.  The feel of fat is another thing altogether.  In the mouth it can feel thick and coating or it can feel oily and slick depending on the source and the temperature.  It can also indicate a richness of certain types of flavor like bacon or tuna.  This is similar to umami but instead of flavor here it is discussing feel.

Temperature:  Alcohol is the perfect example of what the temperature of a drink can do to it.  For example brandy is an aromatic drink that is best served warm when it is very good.  The glasses traditionally used to serve brandy are large enough to sit comfortably in the hand and allow the drinker’s body temperature to heat the alcohol to the point where the aromatic compounds start to boil out of the glass.  This is also the reason you may see people in snooty cigar bars or old movies hold their lighter under the ball of the glass.  A small amount of heat can cause the brandy to blossom and release all of the wine grape’s hidden scents into both the air and the drink.

Whiskey or scotch, too can have this impact.  One of the reasons true whiskey drinkers will take their drinks neat, (without ice) is that whiskey gathers many aromatic compounds both from the distilling and from the barrels used to age the drink.  A cold whiskey will hold onto those compounds resulting in a much reduced experience.

In some cases chilling can have a beneficial effect.  Because Alcohol has a much lower boiling point than water if the liquor is chilled then it will take much longer for the alcohol to boil out of the drink once it comes in contact with body heat.  So for booze which has a much stronger alcohol taste the chill can keep it to a minimum while drinking.  It can’t eliminate it entirely since alcohol also has a very low freezing point but it will do something to mitigate the taste of rotgut.

Almost all cocktails are served cold with the components being either shaken or stirred over ice.  This brings the drink down to around -5C which is honestly the ideal temperature.