Category Archives: Classic cocktails

Watermelon infused Margarita Recipe

I infused a watermelon with tequila, but didn’t care for the texture of the watermelon once it was saturated with even more liquid (watermelons are 92 percent water!).  Thus, I allowed the tequila to sit in the watermelon for about 5-6 hours, then strained it with a fine mesh strainer.  The result was yummy, and the clear, unaged, blanco tequila took on that gorgeous dark pink watermelon hue!  Let me know if you guys try, and like, it!

 

png01 - 1
2oz 100% Blue Agave Tequila infused *IN* watermelon — 1 1/2oz Fresh Lime Juice — 1oz Jalapeno Basil infused Vodka — 3/4oz Cointreau — 3/4oz Raspberry Peach Grand Marnier

Tale of Bloody Mary and the Meat Straw

Hey y’all – I’m back!  I finally made my first Bloody Mary.  Purchasing the deliciously kitschy Benny’s Original Meat Straws certainly factored in this decision!  And, well, alcohol.

I will be frank – unfortunately – these meat straws did not work for me.  Unless, their function is not to suck liquid through, but to just look cool and interesting…

First, I thought maybe the finely grated horseradish I purchased was not so finely grated, after all… So, I tried the straw on the reminder of the fresh tomato juice I just pressed. Suck, suck, suuuuuuck….. nothing but a lungful of disappointment.

I cut the straw in half and saw that it wasn’t completely hollowed out.  Ok, things like this happen, no biggie… I try another straw out of the pack of six, this one had what looked like a large enough hole (on both ends). Once again, I looked like a schmuck sucking on this hunk of meat, hoping and anticipating a quick burst of spicy tomato goodness and coming up with nothin’ but net.

Anyway, if someone has a different experience with these meat straws – drop me a line.  They are tasty and look cool, so I am not sorry I got them.  They can also be used a stirrers…


Jalapeño Basil Bloody Mary 

_DSC1165
6oz Fresh tomato juice (1 large tomato) — 4oz Jalapeño Basil infused vodka — 8-10 dashes Sriracha — 1 1/4 tbs Worcestershire sauce — 1oz finely grated Horseradish — 1 lemon wedge — Mix all ingredients in highball glass, then using second glass, pour back and forth several times until well mixed. Fill highball glass with ice, pour over, express lemon wedge (optional) then garnish with fresh lemon wedge, celery stalk, and anything else your heart desires. SPR

 

 

 

Vintage glassware giveaway

 

Blendo Glass and Pitcher set

 

The photo contest on Instagram is halfway finished! We’ve seen some great entries from @caseyheartcocktails  @kyliel108 , and @maxymixalot !  Amazing photos and COCKTAILS from amazing women! WOOT WOOT WOOT!  🙂  *Update 7/27 Now the men have entered the fray – uh oh! shit just got real, y’all… @hdiezzy  @cosmicrainbowbeing and @baranza73  – great stuff, guys!

 

I’m excited – yet very anxious and nervous, too… How to choose?! So honored to be trusted to make such a decision.  This is gonna be EPIC!

 

Cocktail photo contest!

During this Summer I will be giving away some gorgeous vintage glassware to some lucky winners!  Let’s start with this amazing blendo pitcher and glass set. Tag me in your photos to enter, and please #sipponderrepeat as well.  I’m excited to give away a little piece of vintage class and style.
Rules:
The photographs will be judged based on 1) composition 2) how tasty the cocktail sounds 3) use of ingredients/proportions and 4) style. The bartender/homebartender are both welcome! 1) Max 4 photos per entrant 2) classic cocktails welcome – but *must* add at least 1 original/unique spin to recipe 3) cocktail *must* be made by entrant 4) photos *must* be taken by entrant

 

Best of luck! (but y’all got skills, so y’all don’t need it 🙂

 

 

There’s Always a Substitute, Mai Tai edition

Today I want to discuss recipe substitutions.  When I first started this home bar endeavor a few years ago, I felt beholden to using the exact ingredients in a given recipe.  Not having the perspective or context to decide for myself what subs would work, etc., I followed w/ blind faith.
Now… bump that!  Home bars are mad expensive, yo!  I have bills to pay and I do love to eat as well as imbibe (typical, right?! 🙂 Although, I know I spend much more on the latter…)
Now that my tastes have developed and I have a more well-rounded understanding of various flavor profiles (e.g. orange based liqueurs, amer/amari, herbal liqueurs, various types of simple…)  I feel confident in making due with the bottles I have on deck, and not using strict recipe interpretation as an excuse to go to Schneider’s on Capitol Hill (again!).
I had to ask myself: Could I make a Mai Tai with the spirits I already have now?
I decided I could.
Also, there are multiple Mai Tai variations.  If you’re interested in the history of the drink – this is an interesting read about Don the Beachcomber vs Trader Vic and who actually created the drink first.
On to the drink (and pic)!  I made a riff on this  recipe that consists of light (which I added to make boozier, hence the light color) and dark rum, fresh lime juice, rock candy simple, orgeat, and orange liqueur …

My Bootleg Mai Tai 
_DSC1108
* 1 1/2oz 51 Cachaca in lieu of light rum, 1 1/2oz Rhum Barbancourt (4yr,3 stars), 3/4oz Lime Juice, 1/2oz Cointreau in lieu of dry curacao, 1/4oz homemade Orgeat, 1/4oz Rock Candy Syrup
What is  YOUR favorite Mai Tai recipe?  Did you make any substitutions?  Let me know 🙂
 *Cachaca is essentially Brazilian Rum Agricole, rum distilled from sugar cane juice instead of molasses sugarcane byproduct. It is the main ingredient in the Caipirinha (which I spell wrong e’retime!) cocktail, which also includes fresh lime juice and sugar.

Tiki!

I cracked my first coconut.  I didn’t maim myself.   More on Tiki later – once I further educate myself.  Please check out Intstagram #tikiaf – cuz those guys got it covered.  Also check out @homebargirl and @ntitz cuz they know Tiki…

Island Rain 

_DSC1065

 

1 1/2oz Fresh Pineapple Juice — 1oz Fresh Coconut water — 3/4oz Homemade Orgeat — 3/4oz Rhum Barbancourt — 3/4oz Appleton Estate Special Rum — 1/2oz Cointreau — 1/2oz Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach — 4 dashes El Guapo Whiskey Barrel Aged Spiced Cocoa Tea Bitters — 1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Syrup — SPR

Oak Aging of Spirits

_DSC0298

 

Barrel-aged Boulevardier

I truly enjoyed my barrel-aging experience with the American White Oak Barrel I purchased on Amazon from Brew Naturally. *There are many other barrels out there that I’m sure are quite as good. I’m just sharing the specific one that I purchased…

Oak Aging is a process that I am fascinated with and passionate about. Once I learned the complicated – yet magical – chemical processes involved in aging spirits in wood, my respect for aged spirits deepened.

Let’s talk a little bit about wood. Wood is the PERFECT vessel to age spirits in. It has various natural sugars; chemical compounds called “lactones” that impart flavor and aroma; and tannins – which add color, aroma, and flavor. It is also porous – which allows evaporation to occur, and a small amount oxygen in (necessary for oxidation of the spirit, which also imparts color – browning apples, anyone?!) – whilst allowing spirit to stay in, as well. 

Perfect, right? 

American White Oak (Quercus Alba)  is often used to mature spirits.  There are several reasons for this 1) It is abundant in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly the Ozarks; 2) porosity allows for a) evaporation of spirit, b) oxidation (small amount of oxygen enters), c) pliability for barrel making; 3) high tannin content, w/potential for imparting over 400 different flavor/aromatic combinations to aging spirit

There are 3 components to Oak  (Quercus genus) heartwood:

  1. Cellulose –  40% mass of the wood, this organic compound has strength and chemical resistance.  It helps the wood maintain structure and remain durable.  
  2. Hemicellulose – 25% mass of the wood, also an organic compound, and is present in most plant cell walls, as is cellulose.  It has various sugars with lower molecular weights than cellulose- assisting in solubility of alcohol.  We have hemicellulose to thank for the “red layer” in charred oak barrels. 
  3. Lignin – 5-10% mass of wood – tannins!  As mentioned above, these polyphenolic compounds contain the potential for imparting 400 flavor/aromatic combinations to aging spirit!   

The constant interaction between the spirit and the (charred) wood barrel allows the 6 major processes of wood aging to occur:

  1. Extraction – Water and alcohol soak into the oak, extracting flavor and sweetness from the charred inside of the wood
  2. Evaporation – Depending on climate –  evaporation (“angel’s share” ) can account for 3-10% loss annually
  3. Oxidation – Evaporated spirit creates space in barrel, allowing air to enter into the barrel. O2 in the air forms aromatic compounds by dissolving into spirit — this is where “terroir” enters – which gives various spirits their unique “taste of place” (I’m thinking briny, seaweed infused Islay Scotch)
  4. Concentration – Depending on climate – water evaporates faster than alcohol, or conversely, alcohol evaporates faster. Either way, the volume of spirit is reduced, concentrating the aromas and flavors the magical (ok, so – yes – science – but it seems magical!) extraction/oxidation aging processes have imparted
  5. Filtration – Charred inner layer (red layer) allows filtration to occur, smoothing the spirit by absorbing sulfur and aldehyde compounds
  6. Coloration – Red layer, now caramelized by charring the inside of the barrel, adds reddish color to spirit, and oxidation colors further, adding brownish shade 

Phew!  Amazing stuff!  Now that we’ve distilled the oak aging process – don’t you just want some tawny, liquid sunshine?! Thank you oak, thank you chemistry, thank you terroir –  thank you, thank you!!!!! 

In closing, I am stoked and humbled knowing that so much dynamic chemistry is occurring during oak aging.  The ability to age cocktails at home is no gimmicky, dismissive project.  There is science/magic going on in there – and that is not to be taken for granted.

SPR

___________.  Certified Specialist of Spirits Study Guide, 2015. Washington, D.C.: The Society of Wine Educators, 2015.

_DSC0301