Today I'm celebrating the new season of Netflix's great House of Cards series with this Frank Underwood inspired blackberry and blood orange Bourbon Sour.
In creating this drink I've carefully chosen my ingredients to reflect Frank's personality, inclinations and temperament. Blanton's Bourbon is Frank's bourbon of choice so .... bourbon! He's always using his BlackBerry so I decided to muddle in a few blackberries, which stand up well to the brown sugar notes of the bourbon. Then I added a bit of blood orange juice. If I have to tell you why blood orange, you're not watching the show!
Muddler, blender, cocktail shaker, Old Fashioned (rocks) glass.
Muddle 5 of the blackberries with the blackberry simple syrup in the bottom of an Old Fashioned (rocks) glass.
If you are using the egg white, dry shake (shake without ice) the Blanton's Bourbon, blood orange juice, egg white for 2 to 3 minutes or until the egg is emulsified and the mixture is frothy. I cheat and use a blender because I have shoulder issues and it works just fine.
**( If you skip the egg go directly to the next step.)
Add the Blanton's Bourbon and blood orange juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.
Fill your rocks glass with ice, pour the chilled Blanton's and juice over the ice, stir to mix and garnish with the blood orange slice and the last 3 blackberries.
Now, settle in for some political shenanigans and some great drama while you sip!
ON A FUN NOTE: Blanton's uses 8 different horse and jockey bottle stoppers which leads collectors on a fun little hunting game to collect all eight. Each stopper is marked with a single letter that spells Blanton's when the set has been completed. Cheating and buying on eBay is whack! If you'd like to send me a little thank you for all my free cocktail recipes, I'm missing letters N and A!
Watching the Academy Awards is a tradition in my house. I haven't missed a broadcast in nearly 30 years and I don't plan on missing this Sunday's Oscars. I usually gather together a group of friends and we watch together, dissing the Red Carpet couture, rooting for our favorite movies and actors, and drinking lots of cocktails. This year I'll be serving my Golden Cocktails below*.
For your Oscar Party I've put together a list of great cocktails to make your Academy Awards night celebration memorable. Some are celebrity inspired, some are movie inspired and some are just Golden!
Pour the apricot brandy, sloe gin and lime juice into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the lime twist.
2 Oz. White rum
2 Oz. Sweet vermouth
Add the rum and vermouth to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
CARMEN MIRANDA MARTINI
1 Oz. Dark Rum
1/2 Oz. Spiced Rum
1 Oz. Pineapple Juice
1/2 Oz. Tangerine Juice
1 Tablespoon Coconut Cream
Slice of Fresh Pineapple
Add the rums, pineapple juice, tangerine juice and coconut cream to an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until well mixed and chilled. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the fresh pineapple and the edible orchid.
SHIRLEY TEMPLE & ROY ROGERS
We can't forget these two famous non alcoholic drinks for the kiddies! The Shirley Temple is simply lemon lime soda with a Maraschino cherry and the Roy Rogers Cola with a Maraschino cherry.
This should give you a wide range of libations to choose from for your Oscar night revels. Now, dim the lights and shut off your cell phones, the entertainment begins!
There's nothing that will punch up the flavor of a cocktail like a flavored simple syrup. When a cocktail recipe calls for simple syrup you can add a flavored version and boldly or subtly change the flavor profile of the cocktail depending on how much or how little you use.
Unflavored simple syrup is made by simply heating equal parts of sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves, allowing this to cool and then bottling. Rich simple syrup is a 2:1 sugar water ratio. A flavored simple syrup is just as easy and has way more cocktail panache.
HERB FLAVORED SIMPLE SYRUP
(Heat process method.)
Tools: Medium saucepan, fine metal strainer or sieve and/or cheesecloth, sterilized storage bottle or jar with lid, funnel.
1 C. Cane Sugar
1 C. Water (Or Fruit Juice*)
1 Handful of Fresh Herb Leaves
(for juice infusions see below)*
In a small saucepan, combine your water and herb leaves, bring to a boil, remove from heat then allow to steep for 15 - 30 minutes. (If you're using fruit juices these infused juices can also be used as interesting cocktail mixers after straining!)
Add your sugar then cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, DO NOT BOIL. Remove from the burner immediately and let cool, if you overcook or boil the sugar water your syrup will form sugar crystals.
Strain through a sieve into your sterilized jar.
Your infused syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks up to a month. I hear if you add an ounce of vodka or a vitamin C tablet they will keep a bit longer.** Rich simple syrups can last up to 6 months. Keep in mind that using fruit juices as your syrup liquid could affect shelf life so check for mold or just make as much as you will use in a week or so. I will often make just enough for the cocktails I'm serving that day.
This heat method also works well for citrus zest syrups. For the actual fruit I prefer the cold process recipe below but this heat process will work if you're in a time crunch. HOWEVER, you do need to simmer the fruit until it breaks down, not just until the sugar dissolves. This means standing over the mixture to make sure it doesn't burn or boil. Frankly, the cold process for fruits is easier, not to mention superior in taste.
*HERB INFUSED FRUIT JUICE SYRUP DIRECTIONS:
When I substitute a fruit juice for the water I reduce the amount of sugar because reducing fruit juice intensifies it's sugars. For sweeter juices I use no added sugar at all, for more tart or sour juices I reduce the sugar to quarter cup or less.
Reducing the sugar requires that you simmer the herb infused juice instead of just heating until the sugar dissolves (because there's little or no sugar to form the syrup except that in the juice itself!) I simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to the viscosity I want, usually half the liquid volume.
Keep a close eye on the reduction because once it gets to the syrup point it can easily turn to molasses or even burn. Test it by taking a spoonful of syrup and dropping back into the pan. When it's ready, take it off the heat, cool it and bottle.
Try some combinations! Apple juice with tarragon, strawberry juice with basil, blackberry juice and thyme or raspberries with rosemary. You can even add spices like cinnamon, star anise or saffron. With the spices, just do an additional strain through cheesecloth to remove the finer sediments. Different types of sugars like Demerara or brown sugar are a nice way to change it up as well. Think how great my Mint Simple Syrup would be for sweet tea. Yes, you can also make vegetable syrups!
Use your imagination, the sky's the limit as long as the flavors pair well.
FRUIT SIMPLE SYRUPS
For Fruit Simple Syrups I use a cold process technique instead of heat. A cold process brings out more of the fruit's natural flavors and, because of the 2:1 sugar ratio, lasts longer. It's a bit more complicated than the heat method but not by much.
Tools: Mixing bowl, potato masher, large strainer or sieve and/or cheesecloth, quart size jar with lid, storage bottle or jar.
2 C. Fruit, Chopped or Grated
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
Add your chopped fruit and sugar to a mixing bowl. Smash it all together with your potato masher and let this sit for an hour. After an hour, smash it all up a little bit more and let it sit in the fridge for another hour or even overnight. Smash it up again.
Pour this mixture into the quart jar, add the water and then shake like a madman until the sugar completely dissolves. Let this sit in the fridge for a bit (overnight is best) then shake it up again.
Strain again if small seeds are involved (berries come to mind), this time through cheesecloth.
Bottle and store in the refrigerator.
You're all done now and this syrup can last for up to 6 months in the refrigerator!
Like the herb simple syrups above, try some fun combinations.
THINK THAT'S A LOT OF SYRUP FOR A COCKTAIL OR TWO?
Flavored syrup is not just for cocktails!
Pour it on ice cream, pancakes, pound cake, use it as glazes for meat, add it to salad dressings and even tap a bit in rice. Your flavored simple syrup will be long gone before it's shelf life is up. Heck, you'll probably be doubling your recipes after the first one disappears.
** If you want, you can freeze your syrups into individual servings in ice trays for longer shelf life! They don't freeze completely (because of the high sugar content) so use silicone trays which make it easier to pop out the individual servings.
After I finished up my new pineapple flip cocktail, the Tipsy Miss, yesterday I found I had forgotten to use the spiced rum I'd soaked my pineapple garnish in for that cocktail. It was a good two ounces of booze and I didn't want to pour it back in the bottle. I also had about one egg's worth of pasteurized egg white left in the carton and it seemed silly to put that back in the refrigerator.
Additionally I had just made a bunch of flavored simple syrups, one of which was cherry and cinnamon, so, what the heck, how about another new cocktail?
The Mint Julep, beloved libation of Southerners everywhere and the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, is now known as a bourbon based mint cocktail but this was not always the case. Up to modern times a Mint Julep could be made from brandy, rum or even genever (gin).
Once served in a pewter cup* and now preferred in a silver julep cup, the Julep is a member of the smash cocktail family, cocktails that make use of a muddler for "smashing" ingredients in the bottom of a glass to release the aromatics and flavors. The metal cup allows for a nice icy frosting of condensation on the cup.
As early as 1784 there are mentions of a medicinal treatment called a "mint julep" and the first mention in print came in 1803, where it was described as "a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians [sic] of a morning."
In British Captain Frederick Marryat's 1840 book, "Second Series of A Diary in America" a "real" mint julep's construction reads:
"Put into a tumbler about a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint, upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of peach and common brandy, so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler. Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pine-apple, and the tumbler itself is very often encrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink."
Though I flout tradition by adding pineapple, thanks to this little vintage tidbit my pineapple version is made an honest woman, so to speak. My other flouting of tradition is the use of an Old Fashioned (rocks) glass instead of the metal cup. I don't have a julep cup and I'm not buying a julep cup just to make Mint Juleps, my house is already full of enough drinking vehicles to open my own bar.
So, okay, I don't use a julep cup, I went retro and added pineapple and I also fly in the face of tradition by using mint syrup and not muddling. Well, bless my little heart, I'm just a Northerner!
If you don't mind a little sipping advice from a brash Yankee, try this recipe out.
I think you'll like it.
PINEAPPLE MINT JULEP
2 Oz. Bourbon
1-1/2 Oz. Pineapple Juice
3/4 Oz. Homemade Spearmint Simple Syrup
(Recipes for this and other flavored simple syrups.)
Mint Leaf Garnish
Chill your rocks glass. Pour in your bourbon, pineapple juice and mint simple syrup and stir. Fill the glass with chipped ice, stir a few more times, add the mint garnish and serve.
Mint Julep Facts:
Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack.**
May 30th is Mint Julep Day.
There are 165 calories in a standard Mint Julep.
The word 'julep' comes from the Arabic julab, which is from the Persian julab, meaning 'rose water.'
As well as being a fun alternative to the classic drink of the Kentucky Derby, this golden cocktail is great for Oscar parties or just sitting on your veranda in the summer heat jawing with Big Daddy.
*The mention and use of a pewter cup should give clue to the age of this cocktail, as pewter, once standard for a tankard in colonial times, is now known to be toxic as a drinking vessel.
Basically a Ramos Fizz is gin, lemon and lime juice, egg white, cream, powdered sugar or super fine sugar, orange flower water and some soda. This Golden Ramos Fizz replaces the lemon and lime juices with tangerine juice and the orange flower water with orange bitters. It's that simple and it's that good.
If you want to make it even more golden you can turn it into a flip by using a whole egg in place of just the egg white. Eggs bring such a lovely richness and mouth feel to a cocktail and, in my recipes, I always use pasteurized eggs so there is no worry about any contamination. You really should try at least one, and the best egg cocktails to try out at first are a Ramos Fizz or a Pisco Sour. This kind of bridges both!
GOLDEN RAMOS FIZZ
1-1/2 Oz. Plymouth Gin
1 Oz. Heavy Cream
1 Pasteurized Egg White
1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
3 Oz. Fresh Tangerine Juice
1 Dash Orange Bitters
1 oz Soda Water
Combine all the liquid ingredients, except the bitters and garnish in a blender and dry blend for a minute to emulsify the egg white and aerate the cocktail. Transfer this to an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for another minute to chill. Pour into a Tom Collins or rocks glass, tap the orange bitters onto the foam and garnish with a orange wheel.
With this cocktail you'll be golden, pardon the pun, and it's perfect for Oscar parties, Emmy parties or gold wedding anniversaries!