Boot Strap Buck


Boot Strap Buck

The dark interior of Kask does not lend itself to photography as can be seen in the poor quality of the photo I took that night.  I blame the light and not the 8 or 9 drinks I put away.  The first drink I had that night was a rum concoction called the Boot Strap Buck.

It is perhaps a measure of how good a drink is when you can’t substitute any of the ingredients.  If each thing is selected because it fits exactly into the slot it needs to in order to make the drink taste exactly the way it should.

In this case we start with Blackstrap rum.  I haven’t yet had a chance to really sit down a work out all the differences in the various kinds of rum, but in general most rum is made from molasses.  Blackstrap molasses is what you get after you boil sugar cane juice three times.

The Cruzan is a wonderful dark rum full of flavor and character.

Demerara sugar or turbinado sugar are whole sugar crystals that come from evaporating sugar cane juice before you boil the sugar out of the molasses.  The result is something a bit like brown sugar but with more flavor and vanilla characters.  It’s fun stuff to play with as it really gets you the best of the sugar cane flavor.

Ginger Beer is a new personal favorite, a good ginger beer has a sharp flavor and can be tasted in cocktails where gingerale falls flat.

The nutmeg is the wildcard here, it’s partly for scent, and partly for adjusting the flavor.

The whole thing is an experience that hits you on a number of different levels.  Ginger, spice, rum, lime and citrus all coming at you like a spider monkey.  Go get one, you’ll thank me later.

Bootstrapbuck tag

Update: Rhulman’s Paloma

Issa PalomaThe previous article about this drink can be found here.

After a bit of hunting I finally found a couple of local places where I could find Izze Sparkling Juice on a regular basis.

I can see why they are useful in this context.  They are unsweetened and are about 70% juice and 30% soda water.

If you wanted to do something similar a bottle of ruby red grapefruit and a splash of club soda would be pretty equivalent.

Using it here was a good, I used the same amounts as the original simply replacing the squirt with Izze.  It still needed a dash of agave syrup to round the whole thing out.  Without it they were bitter and sour without being tart.

Basic Drinking: Moscow Mule

moscow muleFollowing up on my post about Core Drinks.

This evening we present the Moscow Mule.  A drink with a fine pedigree and a well known history.  The president and owners of Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer and  G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc.

Heublein may not sound like a name to remember now but in the 40’s they were famous as the company that brought vodka to the american palate when they acquired all rights to the Smirnoff brand.  They are also responsible for the US distribution of other noteworthy brands like Don Q, Jose Cuervo and Guinness Stout.

In 1941 when Jack Morgan shipped his first train load of Cock ‘n Bull ginger beer to the east coast he celebrated in the bar at the Chatham Hotel.  Alongside him were John G. Martin of Heublein and Rudolph Kunett president of Smirnoff.

We can only credit divine providence (and a large quantity of Kunett’s product) with the resulting cocktail.

1.5 oz vodka
0.5 oz lime juice (half a lime)
8 oz Ginger Beer

Pour into glass, give a shot stir so as not to release all the bubbles and drop the spent half lime into the glass.

For some reason these are traditionally served in a small, handled copper mug.  The reasons for this are unclear and lacking this unique barware I’m forced to rely on my Working Glass for such a large drink.

Flavor wise I think you’re going to see a lot of difference based on the kind of Ginger beer you choose.  Cock n’ Bull, the original brand that started the drink is very much alive.  It’s cloudy, rich and spicy.  You can find it in grocery stores, liquor stores and even online.  You might also want to try Fever Tree or Reeds which comes in an Original and and Extra Ginger version.  Reeds is generally around.  I’ve seen it in a number of grocery stores. Fever tree tends to be a bit more select and while I’ve seen some of their products in stores you can’t count on the full line.

I made this one with a cock n bull and I have to say that it has some serious bite.  It’s not sharp like fresh ginger but it does have the burn and the spice of the true root.  The recipe on the side of the bottle is the one I’ve given above, but as I said this takes a larger glass seeing as you’ve got about 10 oz of drink there compared to the 6-8 you normally have in most cocktails.

Some of the versions of this have the ratio a bit closer to even.  2 parts vodka to 3 parts ginger beer.  Given that mix you’d get.

1 oz vodka
0.5 oz lime juice
1.5 oz ginger beer.

A bit short but if you’re using a smaller mug then a 3-4 oz drink goes a bit quicker and you can refill a bit more often.

Mr. Bartender gives a recipe of:

2 oz Vodka
2 oz Lime Juice
8 oz Ginger beer

I think in this case they’re simply upping the lime juice to compensate for the excess of ginger beer. It’s a similar ratio as above you’re just putting 4 times as much ginger beer and lime.  A much lighter drink that you might otherwise want.

This is not a drink that goes quickly.  The volume of flavor between ginger and lime is enough to give you time to pause between sips.  They don’t mesh but they do blend pretty well and being as a good vodka will disappear once it hits any sort of mixer you’re not tasting anything alcohol related on this one.

Ruhlman’s Paloma

palomaIn my wanderings I pick up bits here and there to try and give everyone a good overview of drinking culture and to hopefully learn a bit myself.  One such stumble was on the website of World Famous Chef Michael Ruhlman.  On his site he does a regular Friday Cocktail hour and this particular drink was called the Paloma.

The basic ingredients for this cocktail appear daunting at first.

  • 3 ounces tequila
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 ounces grapefruit soda

A fairly simple drink but if you look closely there’s two shots of tequlia in there and what amounts to a splash of lime juice.

Chefs are know for being able to put away a few drinks but that seems a bit excessive for a refreshing sipper.

Additionally Ruhlman recommends a couple of brands of grapefruit soda that I would live to try out.  Sadly the grocer that stocked the best in oddball beverages has folded and now I’m stuck with a vanilla assortment of coke products and Jones Soda co. offerings.

On the plus side my recent birthday netted me a fine bottle of Sparkle Donkey Silver which I have been dying to put through its paces.

Ingredients in had I took the drink to a party and let a couple of friends play with the results.

Instead of a fancy grapefruit soda I started with squirt.  Not a bad addition, it covered the bases for bubbly, citrus and sweet.  The sparkle donkey was pulling more than it’s share of freight.  In hindsight I wish I had brought some ruby red squirt to try some other variations but I also wish I had a reposado to do this with so we’ll have something to do next time.

Some other variations.  I bought grapefruit juice and club soda, as Ruhlman suggests, but was disappointed with the results.  I used white grapefruit juice from a bottle which is much more bitter than the alternative ruby red.  The resulting cocktail was sharp and bit pretty hard after the lime.

The saving grace was the selection of syrups I had brought.  A spoonful of agave syrup into either version brought up flavors and brought down bitterness enough to make them each an excellent concoction.

In the end I think I would suggest the following:

1.5 oz Sparkle Donkey Silver
1 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1.5 oz club soda
0.5 oz lime juice
1 tsp agave syrup

Stir in a tall glass and sip slowly on a hot day.

Flavor wise this is tart and bubbly.  If you’re using a quality tequila the flavors will blend nicely across the palate and let you savor the agave.

Drink Review: Cherry Lime Flip

If you’ve read any of the history on my blog you can pretty easily find my own version of the Cherry-Lime.cherry flip

It doesn’t take much to make something like this, there are a dozen different ways you can put cherry, soda and lime together.  Breaking down the differences would be a work of years.

This little number came from a family dinner at Red Robin.

They call it the Cherry Lime Flip.  You can see the general ingredients below.  The cherry flavor is coming from the Skyy vodka and the cherries themselves.  Given the color I think there might be some cherry syrup involved but that could be coming from the grenadine.

I have to question the addition of grenadine here, nothing says wtf? in a drink quicker than the wrong fruit.  Then I remembered that a franchise like this is more than likely using a super fake grenadine that is more corn syrup and dye than pomegranate juice.

It’s a very drinkable little number.  I’m not getting the lime that I wanted to out of this and the cherry is very fake being a vodka flavoring but I’d have it again.







cherry flip recipe

Make Your Own: Margarita Mix

In continuing with my desire to see any mix that comes in a bottle relegated to the dustbin I proceed to destroy the myth of Margarita mix.

The Margarita as a drink is a classic cocktail containing only three ingredients.  Tequila, Orange Liqueur and lime juice.  The proportions of these ingredients can vary depending on your preference and I will get into how to adjust those once I can finally get my hands on a bottle of Sparkle Donkey Reposado.

In traditional form a margarita is about:

1.5 oz Tequila
3/4 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Lime Juice

Where anyone would find the need for a mix in such a simple cocktail is beyond me but I can see a couple of holes here that might trip the unwary.  This type of drink is one served in a pitcher among friends so having to extrapolate the ratios upwards can be a bit of a pain.  Additionally there are really only two types of Triple-sec on the market, the expensive and the unknown.  Buying a bottle of cointreau just so your buddy can drown it in cheap tequila isn’t really on my to-do list so we get that out of the way.

Additionally there is some prep work here.  Juicing limes, mixing various things in proportion etc.  Some would find it easier to simply pour a bottle of tequila and a bottle of mix into the blender with ice and press the button to make it happen.

It may also have something to do with the largest selling brand of tequila on the market.  Jose Cuervo does not always make a good product but it’s cheap and plentiful which is more than enough to get the glassware out at some parties.  If you’re putting junk into the blender or shaker then you might need something in your drink to mask the flavor of the cheap rotgut that Oro Tequilas get cut with.  Bottle mixes are going to fill that gap with corn syrup and a bunch of artificial lime flavors.

If you’re going to make a batch of these (blended or not) fresh lime juice and simple syrup is really the thing to use.  If you’re feeling adventurous Agave nectar is another sweetener that already has a brother in the tequila bottle you’ll be using.  Consider the tequila first before you break out the sugar.  A good Reposado is going to have sweet notes in it already from the cask aging process.  Sparkle Donkey I can confirm tastes something like cotton candy in the reposado.  If your alcohol is of a good quality then adding more sugar is only going to play merry havoc with the balance of flavors you’re getting from agave, orange, lime and salt.

Mixing up a lot of this far in advance isn’t really desirable simply because lime juice loses its kick after a while and there isn’t anything else to add but alcohol.   If you’re making blended versions you can pre-mix your entire drink and add it to the crushed ice right before serving since the mix won’t have a chance to dilute and will be mixed by the blender.

Given the amounts I normally get from limes you’re looking at the following:

16 Servings

1 – 750ml bottle of tequila
1 – 350ml bottle of  Cointreau (Triple Sec)
4 medium sized limes

At 1.5 oz per serving you can squeeze a little over 16 servings out of a regular bottle, given that ratio a smaller sized bottle of triple sec will fit perfectly.  Limes normally give you about 2 oz per lime so we can get all 16 servings in 4 fruit.

I recommend a large carafe or jug with a good sealing lid.  Hopefully your blender can handle this kind of volume.