20171212

HOT BUTTERED WHISKEY with Homemade WHISKEY BUTTER


WHISKEY BUTTER is the best thing you'll make this week. The second best thing will be the HOT BUTTERED WHISKEY you make with it.

Seriously, a friend posted this recipe for Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Whiskey Butter from The View from Great Island on Facebook recently and it had me at Whiskey Butter. Had to try it. SO glad I did.


WHISKEY BUTTER RECIPE
Adapted from The View from Great Island

INGREDIENTS
1 Stick Salted Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Ounce Jack Daniels
(or your favorite whiskey)
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Tools: Med Mixing Bowl, Hand Mixer, Container for Butter

DIRECTIONS
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the whiskey, vanilla and bitters and beat until until smooth.
Spoon into a lidded container and refrigerate until firm.

Now put that luciousnous in this:


HOT BUTTERED
WHISKEY

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz. Jack Daniels (or your favorite whiskey.)
1 Tablespoon Whiskey Butter
1 Oz. HOT Water

DIRECTIONS
And the whiskey and the butter to one of your favorite cups, top with boiling water, stir well and garnish with a dried orange half.

The recipe for the steel cut oats you can get over at The View from Great Island.

Oh, and make enough Whiskey Butter for pancakes, waffles, muffins, toast ... you get the idea.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20171209

COOKING WITH COCKTAIL BITTERS - The many uses of cocktail bitters outside the bar

http://themartinidiva.com 
 
THE MANY USES OF COCKTAIL BITTERS
Outside of the Bar
 
You've probably seen a bottle in bars, that ubiquitous, mysterious potion the bartender has close at hand to dash a few drops in certain cocktails like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Americanos or Sazeracs. Maybe you've even had a few drops on a slice of lime the bartender gave you when you got the hiccups.  (My very first experience with bitters.) One thing's for sure, if you drink any cocktails at all you will have had bitters at one time or another.

Bitters are defined as a "liquor that is flavored with the sharp pungent taste of plant extracts and is used as an additive in cocktails or as a medicinal substance to promote appetite or digestion." (Bitters are also employed in cocktails via drinkable bitter liqueurs called Amari or Amaro, but for today we'll stick with those tiny little bottles of boozy flavor bombs, most often dispensed via an eye dropper.) The plant extracts can be from spices, herbs, barks, nuts and seeds, fruits and berries and/or roots which are used in various combinations to create specific flavor profiles to accent a cocktail.
 
 
Originally bitters were created for medicinal purposes. Extracts made by infusing plant elements in alcohol to draw out the curative powers were prescribed for all natures of ailments. To mask the bitter taste (help make the medicine go down) the medical practitioners would advise adding the bitters to honey, tea, juices and even wines and ales. Yes, the first "cocktails" employing bitters were quaffed down by prescription.

One of the first mentions of the use of bitters simply for taste comes from The Balance, and Columbian Repository which defined a cocktail as a "stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” The practice itself was much older, dating back to around 7,000 B.C. when a drink of grapes, rice, honey, and (very bitter) hawthorn berry was discovered in China, though this may well have been a medicinal application.
 

Thanks to the Temperance movement in the 1800s, bitters became mainstream because, as a medicinal cure, they were not subject to spirit taxation. Being touted as medicine they were also a vehicle of profit for flim-flam men who brewed up and sold all nature of nasty bitter concoctions (most often high proof) as cure-alls for nearly every disease known to man. In 1908 the Pure Food and Drug act put an end to the flim-flam trade and only reputable brands remained, at least until Prohibition when alcohol based bitters were deemed illegal. At the end of Prohibition, Peychaud's and Angostura were the only two brands to survive the Volstead Act.

 
 
It wasn't until the early 1950s that Fee Brothers came to join the bitters market with their aromatic and orange versions. Forty years later Gary Regan began the modern day resurgence of artisanal bitters when he introduced his Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6. Fast forward to the 21st century and we have arrived at a heyday of cocktail bitters with access to dozens of new brands and a multitude of exotic flavor profiles that are limited only by imagination. We even have access to a plethora of online tutorials for homemade bitters should the need arise for a bespoke bitters recipe.
 

TYPES OF BITTERS
 
Types of bitters include aromatic (like Angostura), citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit) herbal (arugula, tarragon), spice, fruit (peach, cherry, etcetera) and nut (nuts, coffee, chocolate).

The basic bitters necessary to every well stocked bar are Angostura Bitters, orange bitters and Peychaud's bitters. There are too many classic cocktails that cannot be made without one of these three, but you can personalize the classics or any drink (check out my Chocolate version of a Rob Roy) by substituting any one of the wonderful new bitters flavors available in today's craft cocktail loving world. The standard aromatic bitters of the medicinal days are things of the past as bitters rapidly expand into new territory like chocolate, coffee, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cherry, peach, rhubarb, mint, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, arugula, celery, chocolate mole, fig and sriracha. Combos are gaining ground and even specialties like barbecue, Mexican mole and Prickly Pear are showing up to play. If that's not enough for you to play with, try making your own bitters.

 
NOT JUST FOR COCKTAILS ANYMORE - WHY BITTERS SHOULD BE IN YOUR KITCHEN AS WELL AS YOUR BAR 
 
Bitters are the salt of the cocktail world, like salt they wake up the palate and they help focus the flavors in a cocktail as well as bring their own tastes to play. They can balance out sweetness and acidity, smooth out aggressive ingredients and accentuate a particular taste profile with just a drop or two. They are the "seasoning" of the bar and, as people discover that bitters are just more creative food extracts that can be used much like the familiar vanilla and almond, those little bottles are beginning to show up in cooking environments as well. Bitters can be employed in a multitude of cooking and baking techniques and recipes as well as be the star of non alcoholic beverages. 

WAYS TO USE COCKTAIL BITTERS IN FOOD 
 
PERK UP YOUR COFFEE OR TEA: Add a few dashes of some chocolate bitters or a dash of two of cherry of orange to your morning cup.

CAKES, COOKIE, MUFFINS: Wherever it calls for an extract? Use some bitters instead, just be careful as bitters are generally much more powerful than extracts. Start with a few drops, not teaspoons.

DRINKING WATER: Add a few drops to carbonated soda water for a refreshing cooler. Sweeten this with honey and you have a great way to kick the cola habit. Tap a bit of a citrus bitters into your tap water to cover the taste of the purifying chemicals.

SALAD DRESSING: Add a few drops of an aromatic or herbal bitters to your oil & vinegar. I love using arugula bitters and celery bitters for this application. I've also been know to tap in some orange, pomegranate or fig bitters.

ICE CREAM: Add a few drops of bitters to the custard for homemade ice cream (add after cooking the custard because heat can disrupt the balance and flavor of the bitters depending on its ingredients) or tap a drop right on top of that pint of Ben & Jerry's® or Häagen-Dazs®. My favorite combinations are a drop of floral bitters on fruit ice creams and a drop or two of coffee bitters on chocolate ice creams.

ADD THEM TO WHIPPED CREAM for a punch of extra flavor. My favorites here are coffee, chocolate and cardamom.

Vintage bitters bottles via Wheaton Glass Company, NJ

GET CREATIVE
 
I often use bitters in my desserts to cut the cloying sweetness.  A few drops of cardamom in a caramel apple pie, some coffee bitters in chocolate frosting and a drop or two of cinnamon or orange bitters in cream cheese frosting can take a dessert to another level. I've also been known to add cilantro bitters to salsa when I don't have any fresh cilantro and I even tap a drop of something interesting on a fresh apple or pear sometimes.

If you want to experiment you can buy travel or tester sets of many brands which include several different flavors of bitters. This is a great way to add to your home bar bitters collection as well. Amazon has several sampler sets including The Bitter Truth and Scrappy's Bitters,  which gives two flavor group options.
 
 
There are now too many bitters brands out there to list them all, but some of the most well known are, again, Angostura, Peychaud's, Fee Brothers and Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6.
Here's a short list of some of the other popular bitters available:
Scrappy's Bitters
AZ Bitters Lab
Hella Cocktail Company
Frape & Sons
Miracle Mile
Cecil & Merl
The Bitter Truth
Bittermen's
Bitter End
Boker's Bitters

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
 

20171205

The WHITE LADY, A Prohibition Era Gin Cocktail


Today is Repeal Day, a true drinking holiday created by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, to celebrate the end of Prohibition. That got me thinking about classic Prohibition era cocktails and none is more classic than a White Lady.

The White Lady is a sour cocktail first created either by Harry MacElhone at Harry's Bar in Paris in 1929 or by Harry Craddock of the American Bar at the Savoy, who published his recipe in the 1930 edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book. Frankly, I don't really care who created it, I just like this vintage cocktail and have to have one every so often. 

Neither of the two original recipes included egg white but most modern versions do and I believe the egg really improves the quality of this drink. I'm also a huge fan of the visual of foams on top of my cocktails so that's a plus on the egg side as well. The simple syrup was also not part of those recipes but, for my palate, it balances out the citrus and I always add the sweetness.

Celebrate with us all today and enjoy one.


The
WHITE LADY

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 Oz. London Dry Gin
3/4 Oz Triple Sec
3/4 Oz. Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Simple Syrup*
1 Tbsp. Pasteurized Egg White
Ice

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Tools: Cocktail shaker, Jigger, Coupe glass

Glass: Coupe

DIRECTIONS:
Dry shake all the ingredients (shake without ice) in your cocktail shaker for at least one minute. Add ice then shake until chilled and strain into a chilled coupe. Express the lemon twist over the top then add it to the lip of the glass.

* If you want to play with this a bit try a flavored simple syrup or change out the lemon juice for orange or grapefruit juice. I've done variations with orange juice and tarragon simple syrup, grapefruit juice and lavender simple syrup and lime with cilantro simple syrup.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20171204

PRICKLEY PEAR (CACTUS) DAIQUIRI COCKTAIL RECIPE

http://themartinidiva.com
 
It has been unseasonably warm here in Tucson this holiday season, I'm talking 90 plus temperatures right through the end of November.  When I had a few friends over the other evening it was warm enough to sit outside until the wee hours without jackets.  That meant I wasn't going to be serving any traditional holiday cocktails, not by a long shot.
 
On top of that, one of my guests was from out of town and I wanted to serve up a little bit of Arizona in a glass for him.  That meant bringing out my Prickly Pear syrup again, but this time I wanted something I could batch up for several guests so I could enjoy my company.
 
Daiquiris are an easy cocktail to mix by the batch.  All you need to do is multiply your recipe for the number of cocktails you need, throw that into a baggie, give it a good shake then freeze early in the morning and by happy hour all you'll need to do is pull out your "bag o' daiquiris", toss it back in the blender and pulse until nice and smooth. (Because of the level of alcohol your "frozen" bag of daiquiris will be slushy instead of a frozen block so no need to defrost or worry about killing your blender.) One added advantage of pre-freezing is you get a finer ice crystal and, thus, a much smoother frozen cocktail from the double blending.
 
I just multiplied my ounces below by cups and I had one blender full.  I did this for 3 bags, just in case we decided we needed more daiquiris while we played Cards Against Humanity.  The great thing about making extra is that it keeps, for several weeks in the freezer, if you don't drink it that same day.
 
http://themartinidiva.com
 
The
Frozen
PRICKLY PEAR
DAIQUIRI
(Multiply times the number of drinks required)
 
INGREDIENTS
2 Ounces White Rum
(I used Bacardi Silver)
1/2 Ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 Ounce Prickly Pear Syrup
4 Ice Cubes (or 1/2 cup of water if pre-freezing)
   
Garnish: Small cube of cactus candy and/or lime twist
 
Tools: Blender (plus baggies if batching) 
 
Glass: Coupe
 
DIRECTIONS
Throw all the ingredients into a blender and pulse blend until smooth.
Pour into chilled coupes, garnish and serve.
(If pre-freezing just pour into a baggie and freeze.)
 
Bailey was, of course, part of the party. He won't have it any other way.
 
 
This little bag of frozen cocktails is a trick I started using decades ago when I went off in my motor home for a weekend art show and didn't want to drag along a blender.  I would prepare frozen cocktails ahead of time in small freezer bags and toss them in my RV fridge. When it was happy hour I would take them out, smoosh them a bit with my hands and, voila, I had an instant frozen colada, margarita or whatever ready to drink whenever needed.
 
If you like this Prickly Pear cocktail try my:
PRICKLY PEAR MARTINI
PRICKLY PEAR CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
PRICKLY PEAR OLD FASHIONED
LOADED CACTUS SLIDERITAS
  
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
 

20171203

Hot or Cold APPLE PIE COCKTAIL


Most folks love apple pie. Many folks love cocktails. I love both. You know where I'm going with this, right?  Here's a little bit of hot apple pie in a glass. With rum. You're welcome.

Oh, and don't freak out at the use of  Dale DeGroff's Pimento Bitters, they are basically an allspice bitters. The allspice berry is a berry from the pimento tree which has an earthy clove, nutmeg and cinnamon flavor. (If you happen to have St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram you can use that instead.)

You can serve this cold or hot.

The
APPLE PIE
COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS
1 Oz. Dark Rum
1 Tsp. Cinnamon Liqueur
3 Oz. Apple Cider
1/2 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Dale DeGroff's Pimento Bitters

Garnish: Dried Apple Slice, Cinnamon Stick

Tools: Cocktail Shaker (if making cold)

Glass: Cocktail (cold) or Glass Mug (hot)

DIRECTIONS
Hot:
Heat the cider.
Add all the other ingredients to a mug, pour in the heated cider, stir, garnish and serve.
Cold:
Shake the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain over ice into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish and serve.

December 3rd is National Apple Pie Day.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20171201

EGGNOG COCKTAILS

http://themartinidiva.com

It's that time of year again when eggnog comes knocking on our doors and I, for one, think it is not drinkable without some booze in it.  Eggnog without alcohol is just too sweet, too thick and no fun. So below I have a few of my favorite ways to make this holiday tradition truly drinkable and way more fun.
 
EGGNOG
COCKTAILS
 
CHOCOLATE BOURBON EGGNOG 
EGGNOG MARTINI
MACCHIATO EGGNOG
PUMPKIN EGGNOG MARTINI
WHITE CHRISMTAS MARTINI
 
December is National Eggnog Month.
 
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20171130

GINGER BOURBON SNAP COCKTAIL


It's the holidays and, yes, I went and visited Gingersnap Cocktails again, only this time with bourbon and coffee. Why? Because I was eating one of my favorite gingersnaps one morning and happened to dip it in my coffee. I discovered gingersnaps are way better dipped in creamy coffee than they are in milk.

I figured creamy coffee with booze would be even better. I was right. Yes I dipped that little gingersnap man in my cocktail and sent him to gingersnap man heaven. Then followed him by finishing the cocktail.


The
GINGER BOURBON SNAP
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
1 Oz. Homemade Gingerbread Liqueur
1/2 Oz. Coffee Liqueur
(My goto coffee liqueur is Café Borghetti)
1 Oz. Half & Half

Garnish: Whipped Cream, Gingerbread Man

Tools: Cocktail Shaker

Glass: Cocktail or Coupe

DIRECTIONS
Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with  ice.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish and serve.

Bailey was outside watching the quails and missed the whole thing.
That's what saved my whipped cream topping.


Looks nice with my Make Some Magic Today Necklace from CocktailsAndJewelry.Com.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

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