Mustachi-Ode West Coast Stylee

When Mrs. Flannestad and I were recently in NY, we stopped by momofuko ssäm bar for dinner.

After dinner, we traveled down the restaurant’s back corridor for a drink at their new bar space, Booker and Dax, known for its, “Cocktails you won’t make at home”.

From a New York Times Article, High-Tech Cocktail Lounge Is Opening at Momofuku Ssam Bar

Over the last few years, Mr. Arnold has won a reputation as the cocktail demimonde’s own Mr. Wizard, passing alcohol through a variety of elaborate gizmos and coming out with something purer, more potent, and arguably better on the other end. His experiments have influenced many modern bartenders, but Booker & Dax will be the first tavern where he’ll have direct control over the drinks program.

While I went with the safe choice of a bottled Manhattan, Mrs. Flannestad picked out the more adventurous Mustachi-Ode, described on the menu as follows.

“mustachi-ode – nardini amaro, becherovka, bourbon, egg-white, pistachio”

When she quite enjoyed the drink, I promised to do my best to make it at home.

Not knowing the proportions, I tweeted to the Booker and Dax account and, surprisingly, received a reply with a fairly exact recipe.

“1oz 101 bourbon .5 Becherovka .5 nardini .25 lemon 1 pistachio syrup (ours is centrifuged) ango decoration. Cheers!”

Becherovka is a Czech Herbal, well mostly spice, bitter:

Becherovka (formerly Karlsbader Becherbitter) is a herbal bitters that is produced in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, by the Jan Becher company. The brand is owned by Pernod Ricard.

Becherovka is flavored with anise seed, cinnamon, and approximately 32 other herbs. Its alcohol content is 38% ABV (76 proof). It is usually served cold and is often used as an aid to digestion. It may also be served with tonic water, making a drink that is known as a beton (BEcherovka+TONic) (Czech for “concrete”).

Amaro Nardini is an Italian Amaro made by the Nardini Company, which is known primarily for its Grappas:

DESCRIPTION Digestive after-dinner liqueur with a pleasant and distinctive liquorice finish. Can be served straight, chilled or with ice.
INGREDIENTS Grain alcohol, bitter orange aroma, peppermint and gentian.
APPEARANCE Intense color of dark chocolate.
NOSE Perfect balance of aromatic components, intense scent of liquorice and mint.
PALATE Bitter, with an excellent fruit and herbal balance. A fresh impact of mint, the gentian offers a pleasurable finish of liquorice.
SERVING SUGGESTION A pleasant after-dinner drink, can be served straight, chilled or with crushed ice and a slice of orange.

Since I already had both Becherovka and Amaro Nardini in the house, the only real challenge here is the Pistachio Syrup.

Having had success previously (Orgeat: Tales Version) making Orgeat based on Francis Xavier’s Almond Syrup recipe, I figured I would simply attempt to apply his FXCuisine Orgeat Recipe to Pistachios.

Pistachio Syrup

137g Pistachio
274g Washed Raw Sugar
(process a bit in blender)
2 cup water

Bring to a near simmer (at least 140 F), cool and steep overnight.

Strain out nuts with a cheesecloth.

Add equal amount of sugar for every 1gr of strained liquid. Put the pot on a low flame and stir to dissolve sugar. Bottle, cool, and refrigerate.

I guess I see why they Centrifuge this, given the kind of unappealing brown-green color.

The only real problem is I don’t know the sugar saturation level of Booker and Dax’s Pistachio Syrup. If that “1″ in the recipe means 1 Ounce, I think they must be making more of a “Pistachio Milk” than a Pistachio Syrup.

However, the Orgeat Recipe from Francis Xavier at FXCuisine is crazy saturated, so there’s no way a whole ounce is going to work.

Pistachio Syrup in tow, I lugged my bottles of Pistachio Syrup, Amaro Nardini, and Becherovka in to work at Heaven’s Dog for some experimentation.

After a few variation on the Booker & Dax recipe, this worked pretty well and got good responses from customers and coworkers:

Mustachi-Ode, West Coast Stylee
1 oz Old Bardstown Estate Bourbon (101 Proof)
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/2 oz Becherovka*
1/2 oz Homemade Pistachio Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Egg White

Dry Shake vigorously for a few seconds. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and apply Mustache shaped Angostura Decoration.

I think the next step is the Mustachi-Ode Flip! Though, by that point, maybe it should be a Van Dyke!

*The Becherovka used in this post was provided by an agency promoting the brand.

CUESA Shrub Class

A few days ago, I mentioned the CUESA Shrub Class that Aaron Gregory Smith and Jennifer Colliau are giving for CUESA.

The description site is now up and there’s a link to purchase tickets:

Berry Shrubs with Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods & Aaron Gregory Smith of 15 Romolo

Don’t know what shrubs are yet? Visit the Ark, Oh Parched One… and read up about this almost lost (and recently revived) art. Then get ready to learn from bartenders extraordinaires, Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods and Aaron Gregory Smith of 15 Romolo, they will share their recipes for vinegar-based shrubs using delicious seasonal berries during this hands-on class.

The class will learn all about shrubs, particularly pre-prohibition style traditional shrubs, taste already made shrubs, make 2 shrubs of their very own and learn about how to use them in cocktails. They’ll each take home 2 quart jars of their own shrub made with fresh seasonal fruit (apricots, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) and herbs from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Also includes take-home booklet. (and yes, non-alcoholic options – and samples- of both will be available.)

Underhill Forbidden Fruit

Underhill Forbidden Fruit Liqueur

Peel from 1 Marsh Ruby Grapefruit
Peel from 1 Cocktail Grapefruit*
Peel from 4 small Blood Oranges (golf ball size)
1 Tablespoon Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds, crushed
3/4 bottle Vodka
1/2 bottle Brandy
1/2 pound Orange Flower Honey
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Steep peels with spices in vodka and brandy for 2 weeks. Strain out solids and add 1/2 pound Orange Flower Honey and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Shake to combine. Let stand another week and rack off clear liquid from settled solids. Makes about 750ml.

As the Pomelo and honey based Forbidden Fruit is a truly lost ingredient, I have no choice but to attempt to make it myself.  Fortunately, there’s only about 1 cocktail in the whole world which calls for it.  Unfortunately, that cocktail starts with “T”, so I needed to get busy and make some Forbidden Fruit analog tout de suite.

I missed Pomelo season by a week or two, so am using blood oranges and a couple kinds of Grapefruit. I forgot to buy a vanilla pod, so used natural vanilla extract instead.

As a first (second, actually) try this isn’t bad, the sweetness about on par with Cointreau. I think in the future, I would leave out the ginger. It was a last minute impulse add. Initially it was all heat, but as the heat fades, it evolves into a menthol/camphor flavor which I am currently considering a flaw. A tad bitter, I may have over steeped the peels, or gotten too much pith when I peeled. It will be interesting to see how it evolves, as most orange liqueurs are aged significantly before being bottled.

*”Cocktail Grapefruit are exceptionally sweet and juicy. They are not actually a true grapefruit, but a cross between a Frua Mandarin and a Pummelo. This variety has a similar flavor to a grapefruit but is sweeter and less acidic. Cocktail Grapefruits are grown in the Central Valley of California and they are hand picked for the best quality.”

Cocktail Kingdom Milk Punch

Cocktail Kingdom Milk Punch

1 liter Landy Cognac
1 liter Appleton V/X
375ml Batavia Arrack
Juice and Peel 5 Lemons, 1 Lime
1 Pineapple, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
3 teaspoons Darjeeling Tea
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed
4 Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 stick Cassia Cinnamon
3 Cups Natural Sugar
1 Quart Straus Farms Whole Milk

Combine Rum, Brandy, Arrack, Chopped Pineapple, Juice and Peel of Lemons and Limes. Let stand to infuse for at least 2 days.

Heat water and steep tea and spices for the usual 6 minutes. Strain off solids. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Cool spiced tea syrup.

Strain rum mixture. Juice boozy pineapple and add to rum mixture. Add Spiced tea syrup to rum mixture.

Heat Milk to 150 degrees F. If your hot plate blows the circuit breaker in the basement and you can’t find a pan, run next door to Starbucks and have them steam it for you. Add hot milk to sweetened rum mixture.

Let stand for 15 minutes.  Strain punch through cheesecloth and chill well before serving.

Makes about 3 liters.

To serve combine 2 parts punch with 1 part soda.

Sirop-de-Citron

One ingredient I’ve kind of put off making is Sirop-de-Citron.

Not because it is particularly or challenging to manufacture, but mostly because I have a bottle of Monin Lemon Syrup I’ve barely put a dent in.

However, I’ve never really been thrilled with the drinks I’ve made with the Monin Syrup.

Clayton's Kola Tonic.

With the recent arrival of Clayton’s Kola Tonic, an ingredient commonly combined with Sirop-de-Citron, it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit. Plus, it’s Lemon season.

Source recipes:

La Cuisine de Jardin

Pause Cuisine

Sirop-de-Citron

Ingredients:

5 Lemons
1kg Natural Sugar
Water

Method: Slice lemons, (note deadly ceramic Mandolin in foreground and cut resistant glove in background,) toss with sugar and place in a clean container.

Let stand for 2-3 days.

Add mixture to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Strain through cheesecloth.

If you desire, save now candied peel, dehydrate and store in a sealed container.

Strain into clean 750ml bottle, fill with water.  Refrigerate, (though with this much sugar to liquid, I really doubt much is going to happen here,) and serve with soda water or where Sirop-de-Citron is called for.

Comparing the Monin and home-made, it is really apparent the Monin syrup has been pumped up with Ascorbic Acid.  It is pretty extreme in it’s lemon flavor.  The home made is more natural tasting, though with a bit of a bitter after taste from the inclusion of the pith in maceration.  For those very picky about bitterness, I did find some fancy pants, pastry chef type recipes which zest the lemon peel, juice the lemons, and use this to create the syrup.  Personally, I don’t mind the bitter after taste, and hope it lends some zip to drinks like the Big Boy, Clayton’s, Filmograph, Marvel, Pink Baby, and Re-Vigorator.

BOTW–Modernist Punch

To continue with the punch, maybe I should compare the beer making and punch making processes, and see if I can find parallels.

My rough understanding of the beer making process:

1) Grains are malted, which means they are allowed to sprout and begin to transform complex carbohydrates into sugars for use by the growing plant.

2) Malted Grains are dried and milled.

3) Malted Grains are slowly cooked in water to form a sweet solution (aka Wort). 

4) Solids are removed from the solution, and the boil is continued. Hops, or other flavoring agents, may also be added to this solution at various points, for flavor and alleged preservative qualities.

4) Microorganisms (typically yeast) are introduced to the solution.

5) Microorganisms consume the sugars producing flavor, Carbon Dioxide, and, more importantly, alcohol.

6) The solution is racked off, maybe fined or filtered, and bottled in sealed containers, where it continues to ferment and produce alcohol, flavors and now most importantly, Carbon Dioxide.  The Carbon Dioxide, with nowhere else to go, pressurized the containers and dissolves in the beer producing carbonation.

Pop the top!  I’m thirsty!

Anyway, the whole Malting, Milling, and filtering off solids process is too much of a pain for most home brewers and many commercial brewers.  They instead buy “Malt Extract” or “Malt Syrup” and start at step 4.

Punch Making Process:

1) A sweet flavored solution, also known as sherbet, is created by macerating and steeping flavoring agents in sugar and hot water.

2) The sherbet is combined with booze and citrus and allowed to mingle for a period.

2a) If this is a Milk Punch, the combined booze, sherbet, and citrus mixture will be fined by adding warm milk to the solution.  The milk solidifies into curd, which is then removed, leaving the elements of the milk whey behind in the punch.

3) The punch solution is chilled.

4) The punch solution is diluted with water, soda, or champagne and served over ice.

As I mentioned, my e-quaintance Rob DeNunzio had previously experimented with making what he hoped would be a cocktail-like beer.

In addition, the theme of the upcoming dinner is “Italian Modernist” brewers.  Italian brewers who are re-inventing what might be considered beer by many folks.  Chestnut flavored beer, beers made with flowers and herbs, beers that nearly resemble negronis in their flavor profiles.

When Alex pestered me about making punch for the dinner, I think he just wanted some serious booze at a very beery party.

But when I started thinking about it, what could I do that would be in fitting with the theme?  Stretch the idea of punch?

The first thing that occurred to me was beers like Chouffe‘s N’Ice, practically a beer punch already, with its candy sugar, coriander, and curacao orange peels.

What if I went about it from the other direction?

Starting from my Bernal Heights Milk Punch I made some beer-like substitutions.

First I’m going to infuse (dry hop) the booze with hops. I’m also going to replace the tea in the sweetening syrup with hops. I’ll replace a portion of the sweetener with Barley Malt. Last, I’ll skew the flavoring spices towards those often used in some Belgian beers.

Cali-Belgique Pisco Punch. (with apologies to Stone Brewing)

750ml Marion Farms Biodynamic Pisco Style Brandy.
750ml Barbancourt White Rhum.
375ml Batavia Arrack.
1 Pineapple, chopped
6 lemons, peeled and juiced.
1 Quart Straus Family Creamery Whole Milk.
1 Pint Water.
8 teaspoons Cascade Hops.
4 pieces dried Clemetine Peel.
20 Whole Coriander Seeds, crushed.
8 Whole Cloves, crushed.
1/2 stick Cassia Cinnamon, crushed.
1/2 Pound Sugar.
1/4 Pound Malted Barley Syrup.

Place lemon peels in sealed container with rum and batavia arrack. Infuse for 48 hours.

Place pineapple in sealed container with Pisco and juice 4 lemons. Infuse for 24 hours.

For Alex.

Add 4 teaspoon hops to pineapple mixture and shake. Infuse for another 24 hours.

Hops?

Boil water to a simmer and pour over 4 teaspoons hops, dried clementine peels, cloves, and cinnamon. Dissolve sugar and barley syrup in spiced solution. Cool and allow to stand for 24 hours.

Hop and Barley Malt Syrup.

Bring milk to 140-150 degrees F. Pour Pisco off of pineapple, attempting to squeeze as much juice/booze out of the fruit as possible. Pour warm milk into flavored Pisco, cover, and allow to stand for a half an hour or so.

Floating Curds.

Disturbing curd as little as possible, pour milk and pisco through a fine sieve.

Curd Closeup.

At this point it will look kind of like “louched” absinthe. Filter again through a double layer of cheesecloth.

Filtered.

Remove peels from rum mixture and pour into pisco. Pour flavored syrup through fine sieve into mixture.

Filtered.

Pour all off into clean sealable containers and allow to stand at least 24 hours.

Milk Solids.

Rack punch off of any settled milk solids and filter through coffee filter or similar.

Bottle in clean sealable containers and chill.

Filtered and Bottled.

Serve over ice or with a splash of soda.

In a Glass.

About half way through this process, it occurred to me that I was making a compounded, flavored malt and alcohol beverage.  Oh wait, isn’t that what Zima was?

I mentioned this to Rob and his reply was, “And just think? If it does turn out like Zima, you’ll be filling the sad vacuum it left behind.”

Well, it doesn’t taste like Zima, that’s for sure.

The longer steep time for the spices put those out front. A slight underestimation of the sweetening power of Malted Barley tips this punch towards the sweet side. The use of lighter alcohol makes this seem like, “wait, does it actually have any alcohol?” I could have sworn I put some in…

Oh right, the legendary dangerously drinkable Pisco Punch. See you next week.

Modernist Punch One

When I last saw Alex he bugged me about making punch for an upcoming beer and food dinner we are both attending.

My initial intention was simply to make a batch of the Bernal Heights Milk Punch I’ve been making, but with Pisco instead of Brandy.

However, when I was thinking about the theme of the dinner, I remembered that the host had previously experimented with creating a beer that shared some characteristics with cocktails.

Old-fashioned Home Brewing

Gold Fashioned

Which got me thinking, isn’t turn about fair play?  What if I made a punch that shared some of the characteristics of beer and brought it to the dinner?

I have hops purchased with the intention of creating a hop bitters.

I have barley malt due to my obsession with obscure and unusual sweeteners.

Aren’t there some beers that share the characteristics of Punch?

Punch allegedly is a similar word to the Hindu word for “5″ or “hand”.  Supposedly “five” or “hand” signifies the 5 elements of punch:

  1. Strong (booze!)
  2. Sweet (sugar)
  3. Sour (citrus)
  4. Weak (tea, water, wine, and/or ice)
  5. Spice (usually coriander, clove, cinnamon, or cardamom)

Wait a sec? I could almost be describing a Belgian Beer!  Well, OK, a belgian beer and a shot.  But still.

There might be something there!

Underhill Punsch, Jan 2009

Underhill Punsch

Amazingly, I’ve been making versions of this recipe for over 2 years now!

Latest version, this one distinguished by presence of actual Sorrento Lemons!

Underhill Punsch, January 2009

2 cups Appleton V/X Rum
1 cup Batavia Arrack
2 cup hot extra strong spiced tea (4 tsp Peet’s Yunnan Fancy Tea, 6 crushed cardamom pods, brewed in 2 cup water)
2 cup raw or natural sugar
2 Sorrento lemons sliced thinly, seeds removed

Put sliced lemons in a resealable non-reactive container large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid. Pour Rum and Batavia Arrack over citrus. Cover and steep for 6 hours.

Dissolve sugar in hot tea and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

After 6 hours, pour rum off of sliced citrus, without squeezing fruit.

Combine tea syrup and flavored rum. Filter and bottle in a clean sealable container. Rest 24 hours and enjoy where Swedish Punch is called for.

Say a Boomerang, Biffy or even a Diki-Diki, if you are feeling brave.

Anyone got any other favorite uses for Swedish Punsch?

Kina Lillet Clone

I made my first attempt at an aperitif wine the other day, aiming for Cocchi Americano or Kina Lillet.

I bought 2 1/2 bottles of reasonably priced Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, brought it to 140 degrees and added 1 cup of sugar.  Stirred to dissolve.

Then I added the spice tinctures I’d previously made, starting with a touch, and tasting and adding.

I finally ended up with the following amounts, where I started to be able to perceive the earthy flavors of the Quinine and Gentian tinctures in the wine:

2 TBSP Seville Orange Tincture
2 TBSP Mexican Cinnamon Tincture
2 tsp. Gentian Tincture
2 tsp. Wormwood Tincture
3 tsp. Quinine Tincture
1/2 Cup Spanish Brandy

Cooled, poured it back into the bottles, rested for a day, and tried it.

My initial reaction is I got closer to Jean de Lillet than Cocchi Americano. Admittedly, it doesn’t have any Sauterne in the wine blend, so there is no botrytized character, as in the Jean de Lillet.

Challenges: It’s really hard to judge how something warm will taste chilled or in cocktails. I would have had to use much more of the spice tinctures to get close to Cocchi Americano.  It’s tempting to just mull the spices in the warm wine.  But that will make fining or filtering much more challenging.

The Wine was also a weird pick. Muscat Canelli or similar would be a typical choice for the wine base of a vermouth. But I was feeling completely uninspired by my choices of California Muscat. Loire whites are just some of my favorite wines.

A pretty good first try, I think. Everyone who has tried it has been quite complementary. Still, it isn’t what I was hoping for.

Bonus: At the grocery store on the way home they had Sorrento Lemons!  Picked up a couple and it was just the spur I needed to start a new batch of Swedish Punsch.  And yes, Rowley, this time I will make your Lemon Punsch Pie with the leftover sliced lemons.

Drinky Sorbets

As it is ice cream season, here are a couple drinky sorbet recipes I’ve had good luck serving at parties.

Don’t push the amount of alcohol, or you’ll end up with slushies instead of sorbet.

Mojito Sorbet

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
5 sprigs of mint
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup rum
Zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons mint chiffonade

Makes 4-6 servings.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Add the mint sprigs; stir until mixture comes to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand approximately 10 minutes.

Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour syrup mixture through (straining out the mint). Add lime juice, rum, and lime zest to the strained syrup mixture and stir to combine. Chill.

If you have an ice cream maker, process according to manufacturers instructions. About 5 minutes before it is finished processing, add the mint chiffonade to the freezing mixture. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, chill an stainless steel or pyrex pan in your freezer. The sorbet mixture should not come up more than an inch along the side of the pan. Add mixture to pan, and stir with a fork every hour until well frozen. After it freezes process in batches in a blender or food processor, stir in mint chiffonade, and store in a sealed container in the freezer.

Moro Decay Sorbet

1 c Sugar
1 c Water
1 c Moro Blood Orange Juice
1/8 c Bourbon
Zest of 2 Moro Blood Oranges
1 tsp. Angostura Bitters

Makes 4-6 servings.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool.

Zest oranges into bourbon and stir to combine. Add blood orange juice, bitters and cooled syrup. Chill.

Strain mixture through cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

If you have an ice cream maker, process according to manufacturers instructions.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, chill an stainless steel or pyrex pan in your freezer. The sorbet mixture should not come up more than an inch along the side of the pan. Add mixture to pan, and stir with a fork every hour until well frozen. After it freezes, process in batches in a blender or food processor and store in a sealed container in the freezer.