Posts Tagged ‘mixology’

Years ago, I gave my self an important research project: Create your own version of the perfect espresso martini.

It took painstaking research, which required drinking many espresso martinis in many a bar on my travels.

My favorite version came from a bartender working at Knave, the lobby bar at the at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City. It featured Coole Swan, an Irish cream liqueur I had never tried-or heard of-before. The bartender was nice enough to write down the recipe for me, but I guess I had a little too much to drink…because I lost it! So it was up to me to use those brain cells I didn’t fry and come up with my own combination.

A lot of mixing late into the night, and I came up with what I consider to be my perfect espresso martini. As the marines say: “There are many like it, but this one is mine.”

 

Alz Espresso martini

My espresso martini

 

 

3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere
3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz. Coole Swan

 

Chill your martini glasses. Pour all the ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glasses.

This recipe makes 2 martinis. Let me tell ya…this tasted as good the first time as it did several martinis later! I’ve found that using a high-end vodka really does make a difference in the quality and taste of the martini…as does brewing your espresso just before assembling the drink.

My raspberry plants are producing a ton of fruit, and my mint plants are taking over the yard! It’s time to make Mojitos!

Very often, I’ll use raspberries alone, but Mojitos are even better when you combine the raspberries with blueberries. Frozen fruit works well, too. Make them by the pitcher and you’ll do it any other way again!

The ingredients

The ingredients

 

Make ahead of time…
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Mix both ingredients together and let stand at room temp. Shake until dissolved. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several weeks and ready to use any time. Shake well before using.

mojito pitcher

For the Mojitos…
1 cup sugar/lime mixture
1 cup mint leaves, packed
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 pint raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 or 4 cups white rum, preferably Don Q Cristal rum
3 or 4 cups club soda

Combine the mint leaves and 1/2 cup of the sugar/lime mixture in bottom of a pitcher. Muddle the mint up very well to release mint oils. Add the blueberries and continue to muddle.

Add the remaining sugar/lime mixture, rum and raspberries. Mix well. Just before serving, add the club soda and ice. Stir. Pour into glasses.

Or…for drinks one at a time, fill a tall glass with ice. Fill it one-third to halfway with club soda. Top with the Mojito mix. Garnish with a mint leaf.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Recently, studies have found that drinking as little as 2 more cups of coffee a day can reduce cirrhosis of the liver! So why not kill 2 birds with one stone and put coffee in your cocktail?

I love espresso martinis, and my favorite was one that I sampled a years ago at the Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. The secret ingredient was an Irish cream liqueur called Coole Swan. Here’s my version of that recipe…

espresso

 

3 oz. good quality vodka, like Belvedere
3 oz. freshly brewed espresso
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz. Coole Swan

Chill your martini glasses. Pour all ingredients into a large shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled glasses. Makes 2 martinis.

 

Tomorrow night I’ll be at the Providence Art Club for their annual Founder’s Day celebration, raising a glass in their honor.

1

 

A few years ago, I was asked by the Providence Art Club to come up with a cocktail for their first Founders Day celebration. One hundred glasses were raised to honor the founding fathers of the second oldest art club in the United States. (Founded in 1880.) The oldest art club is the Salmagundi Club in NYC, founded in 1871. However, the Providence Art Club holds the distinction of being the oldest art club in the United States that was founded by both men and women. (The Salmagundi Club started as an all-male club.)

 Silhouette cocktail
Silhouettes of art club members long past line the walls of the Providence Art Club, and so, my wife came up with the name of the cocktail: The Silhouette. It’s a twist on the Boulevardier, which is a twist on the classic Negroni.
2 oz. Eagle Rare 10-year bourbon
1 oz. Antica Formula sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. Campari
2 shakes Regan’s orange bitters

In a cocktail shaker with ice, stir the ingredients and then strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Cheers!

With “Spectre” in theaters right now, it seems appropriate to bring this recipe back.
At first, it seemed almost silly to try to make one…but the classic James Bond martini has always fascinated me. I’m not talking about the clichéd Sean Connery “vodka martini, shaken, not stirred.”  I’m talking about the real James Bond martini, which appeared in Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel “Casino Royale” and only appeared in the most recent “Casino Royale” motion picture starring Daniel Craig.
Bondtini
To quote the novel:
‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’ ‘Oui, monsieur.’ ‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s (gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.  Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’ ‘Certainly, monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleasant with the idea. ‘Gosh that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter. 
Bond laughed. ‘When I’m … er … concentrating.’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.’ 
He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long sip. 
‘Excellent,’ he said to the barman, ‘but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.’ 

To quote the movie: http://youtu.be/Vc7n7yyXWsU

Bond named this drink the Vesper martini, after the character Vesper Lynd, portrayed by Ursula Andress in the 1967 adaptation, and Eva Green in the 2006 adaptation of “Casino Royale.”
My version of this classic drink remains true to the original, though I’ve changed brands due to personal preference. In the novel, Bond just asks for “vodka.” (Of course, this was back in the 1950’s when we didn’t have 100 brands to choose from!) My choice for best-bang-for-the-buck grain vodka is Tito’s: it has just enough of an edge, which is what this drink needs.
Bond asks for Gordon’s gin. I’m partial to Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire. Again, in the 50’s, what good British agent wouldn’t drink Gordon’s?
And the original Kina Lillet had its formula changed in the 1980’s to keep up with the times by reducing the quinine, which made it bitter. The French aperitif wine, Lillet, is today’s version: a blend of wine grapes, oranges, orange peels and quinine. Lillet is not a vermouth, though you’ll find it in the vermouth section of your favorite liquor store. Some aficionados claim the martini is just not the same without the original Kina Lillet formulation, but I find that the drink works just fine for me.
ingredients again
So…measurements true to Bond:
3 oz. Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire
1 oz. Tito’s
1/2 oz. Lillet
I prefer combining these over ice in a cocktail shaker, and I stir, not shake. I strain it into a chilled martini glass and I skip the lemon peel. I prefer three olives instead…stuffed with garlic, if my wife is away on a business trip!
Cheers!
Bondtini2
A side note: the correct pronunciation of Lillet is Lih-LAY. Grammatically in French, the double-l would make it sound like Lih-YAY. So to keep that from happening, they spelled it Lilet for a while until the French were used to the correct pronunciation, then they went back to Lillet on the bottle.

Happy National Vodka Day! If you think cucumbers are boring, this drink will change your mind. Garden-fresh cukes are always best.

 

image

4 fresh cucumbers, peeled and seeded
Small ice cubes
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons granulated organic cane sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup vodka (I like Tito’s)
1 oz. orange liqueur (I like Cointreau)

 

Peel and seed the cucumbers. Coarsely chop them and then purée in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Or, if you have one, use a juicer. Set the cucumber juice aside.

To a large glass pitcher, add the mint leaves, sugar and lime juice. Muddle the ingredients so that the mint leaves release their oils. Add 3/4 cup (at least) of the cucumber juice. Add the vodka and Cointreau. Muddle again briefly.

Fill tall drinking glasses with ice cubes. Strain the cocktail into glasses. Garnish with a cucumber spear or mint.

My raspberry plants are producing a ton of fruit right now, and when that happens every season, I could turn my attention toward tarts, jams or even ice cream. But I prefer to focus on Mojitos!

Very often, I’ll use raspberries alone, but Mojitos are even better when you combine the raspberries with blueberries. Frozen fruit works well, too. Make it by the pitcher and you’ll never make it any other way again!

The ingredients

The ingredients

 

Make ahead of time…
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Mix both ingredients together and let stand at room temp. Shake until dissolved. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several weeks and ready to use any time. Shake well before using.

mojito pitcher

For the Mojitos…
1 cup sugar/lime mixture
1 cup mint leaves, packed
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 pint raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 or 4 cups white rum, preferably Don Q Cristal rum
3 or 4 cups club soda

Combine mint leaves and 1/2 cup of sugar/lime mixture in bottom of a pitcher. Muddle mint up very well to release mint oils. Add blueberries and continue to muddle.

Add remaining sugar/lime mixture, rum and raspberries. Mix well. Just before serving, add club soda and ice. Stir. Pour into glasses.

Or…for drinks one at a time, fill a tall glass with ice. Fill one-third to halfway with club soda. Top with Mojito mix. Garnish with mint leaf.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

1

 

I was recently asked by the Providence Art Club to come up with a cocktail for their first Founders Day celebration. One hundred glasses were raised to honor the founding fathers of the second oldest art club in the United States. (Founded in 1880.) The oldest art club is the Salmagundi Club in NYC, founded in 1871. However, the Providence Art Club holds the distinction of being the oldest art club in the United States that was founded by both men and women. (The Salmagundi Club started as an all-male club.)

 Silhouette cocktail
My cocktail, The Silhouette, is a twist on the Boulevardier, which is a twist on the classic Negroni.

In a cocktail shaker with ice:

2 oz bourbon (I use Eagle Rare)
1 oz sweet vermouth (I use Antica Formula)
1/2 oz Campari
2 shakes orange bitters

Stir the ingredients with ice and then strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube.

Garnish with an orange twist.

If you think cucumbers are boring, this drink will change your mind. Garden-fresh cukes are always best.

This drink requires a little prep. If you have a juicer, use that instead of pureeing in a food processor. Just peel the cukes and juice.

 

image

Ingredients:

4 fresh cucumbers, peeled and seeded

Small ice cubes

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons granulated organic cane sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup top shelf vodka, like Chopin

1 oz (2 tablespoons) Cointreau

 

Peel and seed cucumbers. Coarsely chop them and then purée in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Set cucumber juice aside.

To a large glass pitcher, add mint leaves, sugar and lime juice. Muddle ingredients so that mint leaves release their oils. Add 3/4 cup (at least) of the cucumber juice. Add the vodka and Cointreau. Muddle again briefly.

Fill tall drinking glasses with ice cubes. Strain cocktail into glasses. Garnish with cucumber spear or mint.