Chance of Showers

Ever since I’ve started making yeast carbonated Ginger Beers this summer, I’ve wanted to use them to make a drink with dark rum and lime.

Last week, an email arrived with the following subject: Ivy Room Cocktail Competition & Anniversary Party (12/09)

Sponsored by Ron Zacapa 23 Rum

Details:
Competition is open to any bartender currently working in the bar, restaurant or spirits industry
1st PLACE Prize = $500 gift card
2nd PLACE Prize = Bar Kit & Bottle of Ron Zacapa 23
3rd PLACE Prize = Bottle of Ron Zacapa 23
All cocktails shall utilize Ron Zacapa 23 as main ingredient and only spirit

Create four cocktails – recipes shall be original creations

We invite inventiveness and creativity, drinks should be delicious – try not to overthink it

Cocktails will be judged according to the following criteria, with a total of 100 points possible:
Use of Zacapa product: 25 points
Aroma: 15 points
Flavor: 15 points
Technique: 15 points
Presentation: 15 points
Creativity: 15 points

My first thought was to make the drink a bit of an “old-fashioned” and serve it stirred on a single large ice cube.

However, after workshopping that idea at a friend’s bar in my neighborhood (Hi John! Thanks for loaning me a well at Holy Water!), I discarded that idea and re-made the same drink on their lovely regular Hoshizaki cube ice.

When I got to a version where a coincidentally located booze salesman said, “I could drink A LOT of those!” I figured I was close.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Chance of Showers

1 dash Angostura Bitters
Juice 1/2 Lime (or 1/2 oz)
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup (or to taste)
Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer*, chilled
2 oz Ron Zacapa 23
Lime Burst, with pickled ginger stuffed peppadew pepper

Fill an old-fashiohned glass with cracked ice. Add Bitters, Lime Juice, and rich simple syrup to glass and stir to combine. Pour in chilled ginger beer to nearly fill and stir again. Float on Ron Zacapa and garnish.

*Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer

5 oz Ginger
4 Dried Thai Bird Chiles, or other small piquant pepper

32oz Water
3/4 Cup Washed Raw Sugar

1/2 tsp Yeast

METHOD: Bloom yeast in lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Over low heat, dissolve sugar in 24oz water. Add ginger and chiles to blender bowl with 8oz water and puree. (Blender works well for me in these amounts, but if you have a juicer that can juice ginger root, go for it.) Pour through cheesecloth to filter. Press as much liquid out of ginger solids as possible, I use a sturdy potato ricer. Add ginger juice and water to hot sugar solution and cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and bottle in clean sanitized containers, leaving some headroom. Seal tightly and place in a warm dark place for 5-8 hours, depending on temperature and how feisty your yeast is. Move to refrigeration when the bottles are firm to the touch. Yeast (tan) and Ginger starch (white) will fall out of solution. When serving, open carefully over bowl to catch potential over-foam. Makes a Quart and a bit more.

If you know anything about cocktails, you’ll probably know that this drink is somewhat similar to a Caribbean Potation called the “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, allegedly invented in Bermuda some time during prohibition.

However, the Gosling’s Rum corporation is quite insistent that if you put a drink called a Dark ‘n’ Stormy on a restaurant or bar menu, that you must make it with their Rum and their recipe or not at all.

The Right Stuff (by Law), Jonathan Miles, NY Times

“‘What’s in a name?’ Shakespeare famously asked. In the case of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a Bermudan cocktail that’s been making a quiet resurgence in New York City bars and restaurants in the last couple of years, it’s two ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a fizzy hit of ginger beer.

“And, by law, nothing but.

“That’s according to two trademark certificates on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which — in an exceptionally rare instance in the cocktail world — dictate the precise ingredients and amounts required to call a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, well, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy.”

So, as much as I might like to call this drink a “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, it cannot be! It has Ron Zacapa 23, for one, and, it has lime juice, not to mention homemade yeast carbonated ginger beer.

“Dark ‘n’ Stormy” or not, this is a delicious drink, even if you must make it with Gosling’s Rum, not something I’d really recommend if you have another delicious rum like Zacapa 23 in the house…

Prepared with a NOT “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, I wrote up the following to say to present my drink:

“Hi, I’m Erik Ellestad and I work for the Slanted Door Group of restaurants.

“My Ron Zacapa drink for this competition is called ‘Chance of Showers’.

“I have been a big fan of Ron Zacapa 23 for some time. A friend gave me a taste of it before I was really that into Cocktails and spirits and it blew me away. Mount Gay Eclipse had been about as far as I had journeyed up to that point vaguely in the direction of premium rums, and it basically convinced me that there was even such a thing as a sipping Rum. I frequently enjoy it as an after dinner digestiv, but my favorite story related to this fine Rum is in regards its other properties as a “mixer”.

“A while ago a good friend (Hi Rich!) of mine started dating a woman (Hi Humuhumu!) who was really, and I mean seriously, into Tiki Bars, Tiki drinks, Tiki culture, and related paraphernalia. One day he took me aside to ask for my advice. He wanted to buy his new girlfriend a bottle of Rum, but didn’t know much about Rums. My initial reaction was, don’t buy a Rum for someone who is that into Rum. What could you buy her that she hadn’t already tried or had in the house? He insisted, and I thought about it some more. Some aged Rhum Agricole came to mind at first, a little obscure, he’d get points for difficulty. But then I thought of Ron Zacapa 23. As I had liked it so much, maybe it could be a gateway Rum for him, as well as a fine gift for his new girlfriend. I mean, really, who can argue with Ron Zacapa 23, even if you already have a bottle?

“I guess it worked, as when they got married, instead of drinking wine to celebrate their new union, they drank Ron Zacapa 23!

“My drink is Angostura Bitters, Fresh Lime Juice, Homemade Yeast Carbonated Ginger Beer, and Ron Zacapa, garnished with a lime and a ginger stuffed pickled pepper.

“Please enjoy Chance of Showers. Or, now that I think about it, with young Wanda Trott in mind, maybe I should call it, ‘Chance of Baby Showers’!”

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy

“Say there Erik, all these non-alcoholic drinks and beverages are awesome, but have you noticed the weather outside? It is F-ing C.O.L.D.”

(Or, well, as cold as it ever gets in San Francisco, which is to say, not very cold.)

“How about a seasonally appropriate drink?”

OK, then, here’s a spiced cider toddy, enlivened with a little smoky Lapsang Souchong tea.

(Sorry for the sloppy pour, you might want to remove the peels before straining into a glass.)

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy
(for two)

1 Cup Apple Juice.
1 Cup Ginger People GingerGizer (An extra spicy Ginger, Lemon, and Honey Beverage.)
1 Whole Star Anise.
1 Cinnamon Stick, plus extra for garnish.
2 Whole Cloves, plus a few extra reserved for garnishes.
3 Whole Green Cardamom Pods, Crushed.
Peel 1/2 Orange (or other citrus, I used tangerine.)
1 Lemon Peel, plus an extra reserved for each garnish.
1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong Tea (Lapsang Souchong is kind of the Islay Scotch or Mezcal of tea. It is smoke dried over burning pinewood fires, giving it a distinct ‘campfire’ flavor. Like Islay Malt and Mezcal, it tends to provoke a strong positive or negative response among people who try it.)

METHOD:
To create garnish, stud a lemon peel with whole cloves for each serving.
Bring all Apple Juice, GingerGizer, and spices to a simmer on stove or in the microwave. Turn off heat and add Tea. Cover and brew for 4 minutes. Strain into a warmed glasses and garnish with clove studded lemon peels and cinnamon sticks.

You could add booze, but with the heat from the ginger and astringency from the tea, you might be happy with this virgin Toddy without any booze at all.

AppleGingerTeaToddy

Other Uses for Pistachio Syrup

You might recall, I made a Pistachio Syrup to recreate the Mustachi-ode from Booker & Dax.

While the Mustachi-ode is a fantastic drink, I’ve been experimenting with other uses for the syrup.

The first easiest targets are mostly simple substitutions for Orgeat.

Here are a couple interesting, and so far unnamed, things to try with Pistachio Syrup:

2 oz Tequila Ocho Blanc
Heavy Barspoon Pistachio Syrup
2 dash Miracle Mile Chocolate Chile Bitters

Stir and strain into a small cocktail glass. Grate fresh Cinnamon on top.

Obvious riff on the Japanese Cocktail, really like how this highlights the interesting vegetal characteristics of the Ocho.

1 1/2 oz Barbancourt 8 Rum
1/2 oz Neissen Blanc Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pistachio Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Curacao

Shake and strain over cracked ice in a 10 oz glass. Garnish with Mint Sprig and Lime Wheel Cherry Boat.

Fairly literal Mai Tai variation, for me the nut character of the Pistachio syrup really pops in this.

Of course, if you don’t feel like making Pistachio Syrup yourself, you can always stop by Heaven’s Dog!

“Hawaiian Punch”

“Could you make me something tall, refreshing and non-boozy?”

“No problem…”

Minutes later, “Ha, I think I have inadvertently discovered the secret formula for ‘Hawaiian Punch’!”

“Hawaiian Punch”

2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Shake and strain over ice cubes in a 14-16 oz glass. Top with chilled soda water.

Tequila Daisy

Tequila Daisy

2 oz Tequila Ocho Blanco*
Juice 1 Lime
1/2 oz Bols Dry Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Soda Water

Peel a lime as for an apple, and place in a cocktail glass. Shake other ingredients thoroughly on cracked ice and strain over fresh crushed ice in the glass. Garnish with fresh fruit, in season, Mint Sprig, and fill with soda water.

One of the many theories about the name of the Margarita is that it is the Spanish word for “Daisy”. That the Margarita is exactly that, a Tequila Daisy.

It’s an OK theory, I suppose, holds about as much water as any of the other ones. The main problem being, every Daisy recipe I’ve read calls for Soda Water and I’ve never, ever, seen a Margarita recipe which calls for Soda.

Delicious, though the Tequila Daisy is, if you’re going to go in the drink family direction, I think you’re better off sticking with the Tequila Sidecar.

But, to wrap it up, what exactly is a Daisy?

A Daisy should have a generous pour of a base spirit, citrus, sweetener and fizz. Many examples include elaborate garnishes.

As far as preparation goes, it seems like most of the early recipes for Daisies are shaken and strained into a glass, NOT served on ice. Personally, like Hugo Ensslin, I usually serve them on cracked ice, just to differentiate them from the Fizz category.

After that, the sky’s the limit. Pretty much any sweetener, any citrus, and any spirit seem to be allowed in the category. Heck, I see no reason not to mess with the fizz aspect.

Experiment and tell me what you get.

*I received the Tequila Ocho Blanco from a firm promoting the brand.

Stone Daisy

Stone Daisy

2 oz Compass Box Great King St Artist’s Blend
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup
Samuel Smith’s Organic Hard Cider
Apple Peel
Fruit, in season for garnish

Peel Apple as for Crusta and line wine glass with peel. Half fill with Cracked ice. Shake drink with ice and strain into glass. Fill with Hard Cider. Garnish with strawberry, sliced apple, and mint sprigs.

Again thinking Apple was sorely under-represented in the Daisy category, I wondered if a Daisy made with Hard Cider was still a Daisy or something else. I was tempted to make this one again with Apple Jack, but then I remembered the Stone Fence. Scotch and Hard Apple Cider, now there’s something to try…

You know how everyone writes the lemon technique in Crusta recipes always, “Peel Lemon in spiral fashion, as you would an Apple”? Being the perverse cuss that I am, I felt strangely compelled to write a recipe where the Apple would be peeled as you would the lemon in the Crusta.

The Great King St Artist’s Blend is a relatively reasonably priced Blended Scotch Whisky intended as a remedy to the slightly moribund territory of Mr. Walker and his friends. Scotch Whisky geeks disagree on whether this new expression from Compass Box quite as good as they were hoping it would be. It is an enjoyable whisky and works pretty well in this cocktail. If I had any criticism, it would be that it is priced only nominally reasonably, and for the price of the Great King St Blended Whiskey, you can get a pretty decent Single Malt Scotch. Though, of course, no one will bust your balls about using the Great King St in a Highball or Daisy.

Regarding the drink… I used an English hard cider from Samuel Smith’s. I don’t really like most English Hard Cider. I find the Samuel Smith’s Hard Cider very nearly enjoyable in the Stone Daisy, as long as you don’t use too much, and it is maybe the best English Hard Cider I’ve tried so far. The drink would be better with a nice, dry hard cider from France.

Jersey Daisy (for Deragon)

One evening while working at Heaven’s Dog, I was graced with the presence of another man who lives a double life in Tech and Booze. John Deragon was, at the time, working for PDT and at the same time maintaining a second life as a highly placed Information Technology worker in some aspect of the Hearst organization.

I had made him my version of the Aviation and he was next interested in a cocktail of a more aromatic bent. Thinking something Brooklyn-ish, I wondered about what I could make that he hadn’t already experienced. He suggested a cocktail which I believe was of his own devising, The Jersey.

Composed as follows, it turns out to be quite delicious, amazingly taming two rather extreme liqueurs by pitting them against one another:

Jersey Cocktail
2 oz Laird’s Bonded Applejack
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an Orange Twist.

Looking through the Daisy recipes I’d made so far, I felt they were strangely amiss without one based on Apple Brandy. Thinking back on Mr. Deragon’s Jersey, I came up with the following.


Jersey Daisy (for Deragon)

1 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye*
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy*
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Fernet Branca (for float)

Peel lemon as for Crusta and line wine glass with peel. Half fill with Cracked ice. Shake all ingredients other than Fernet Branca with ice and strain into glass. Fill with Soda and float on Fernet. Garnish with strawberry and mint and serve with a straw.

*In the event of actual New York Bartenders, please bump the Laird’s and Rye up to at least 1 1/2 ounces each.

New Car Cocktail

As “White Whiskey” is a sort of trendy object these days, I’ve been puzzling over some uses for it.

One of my favorite whiskey cocktails is the “Vieux Carre”.

It is traditionally composed of equal parts Rye Whiskey, Brandy, and Sweet Vermouth with dashes of Benedictine and bitters.

As others have already gotten to making White Whiskey versions of Old-Fashioneds and Manhattans, I figured why not a clear Vieux Carre?

I’ve experimented with just about every unaged whiskey and unaged fruit brandy and eau-de-vie at my disposal.

Eau-de-Vies, while initially promising, I have found too dominating for the somewhat laid back character of most white whiskey. With them, the cocktail just tastes of the eau-de-vie and not the whiskey.

I also experimented some with lightly aged apple brandy and found those fairly promising. If you have access to Clear Creek’s young apple brandy, it is quite good in this cocktail. But, unfortunately, rather hard to come by.

After a lot of experimentation, I ended up taking the absolutely most obvious route with this cocktail: unaged whiskey, pisco, and blanc/bianco vermouth.

New Car Cocktail

1 oz White Whiskey
1 oz Pisco (or Pisco style California Brandy)
1 oz Blanc/Bianco Vermouth
2 dash The Bitter Truth Repeal Bitters (Or other relatively clear, spicy, old fashioned bitters. Trying to avoid a pink drink here. Boker’s maybe?)
5ml Benedictine (aka 1 barspoon. Mine is 5ml, I don’t know what size yours might be.)

Stir briefly with ice and strain over fresh cube(s). Squeeze orange peel over drink and drop in.

At work, I have had rather good response to the combination of Death’s Door White Whiskey, Marian Farms Pisco Style California Brandy, Dolin Blanc, and Bitter Truth Repeal Bitters.

Last night, I found the combination of Tuthilltown Hudson Corn Whiskey, Don Cesar Pisco Pura, Cinzano Bianco Vermouth, and TBT Bitters to be appealingly funky and high powered.

Let me know what combinations you come up with.

As far as the name goes, as we discussed before, “Vieux Carre” means something like, “old square,” in French. So a cocktail with unaged spirits obviously has to be “new”. Most Americans pronounce the second word in “Vieux Carre” as they do the word for automobile, “car”. Also, for some reason, “new car smell” comes to mind.

A Hendrick’s Cocktail

A guy was in the other night and wanted a “spirituous” cocktail featuring Hendricks.

I decided to do a variation on a tequila drink I’d worked up previously, to relatively positive response.

2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc (or other Bianco) Vermouth
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters

Stir, strain, grapefruit peel garnish.

I really liked the way the rose of the Hendricks and grapefruit from the bitters worked together with the herbal flavors of the Dolin Blanc.

The customer’s response was, “that’s kind of subtle”. Hm, well, “subtle” is not bad, and, actually, exactly the sort of thing I aspire to in a spirituous cocktail. Present the spirit first and foremost, with some subtle accents.

A few days later, my boss came in to pick up some ice and paused for a couple drinks. He asked that I make him a gin cocktail, either a Savoy Cocktail or one of my own. Nothing like a little pressure.

Mulled a couple things, and decided to run this past him, but with Miller’s Westbourne instead of Hendricks. I thought I liked it better with the Miller’s than the Hendrick’s. Though it did need a bit longer stir to tame the heat of the Westbourne strength gin.

His comment was something like, “Well, it is kind of cheating, as pretty much 2 oz of anything with dolin blanc is going to taste great. But I like the way the grapefruit works in this. I could drink a lot of these.”

Laika Cocktail

Laika Cocktail

2 oz Vodka
Shy quarter ounce Lemon Juice
Quarter ounce 1-1 Honey Syrup
Allspice (aka Pimento) Dram

Stir with ice and strain into a glass coated with Allspice Dram. Squeeze thick swath of orange peel over cocktail and discard.

Another vodka cocktail I worked up for Heaven’s Dog.

I was trying to riff on the ingredients used in the Eastern European beverage calld Krupnik: vodka, lemon, honey, spice.

Trying to think of a name, Krupnik reminded me of Sputnik, which reminded me of the first animal to orbit the Earth, Laika.

If you have a vodka with some character, this cocktail will show it off.  I like to make it with the grape based vodka we have at work, CapRock.