20160131

The BRANDY ALEXANDER Cocktail Recipe and History


Based on the cocktail known simply as the Alexander which uses gin instead of brandy, The Brandy Alexander is made with dark Creme de Cacao. If it's made with white Creme de Cacao it's known as a Panama. Made with equal parts brandy, usually cognac, dark creme de cacao and cream, it's considered a dessert cocktail and ice cream is often used in place of the cream.

There's a great lineage to the Brandy Alexander, a family tree of the Alexander family, and it has the typical shrouded past of many vintage cocktails.  Reportedly it was created for the wedding of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and Viscount Lascelles, in 1922, however, well know opera critic Alexander Dragon claimed The Brandy Alexander was was named after him. Some reports claim it was named after Russian Tsar, Alexander II, while others attribute it to Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's restaurant in New York City, who purportedly created it as a drink white for a fictitious advertising character called Phoebe Snow.

My history of the drink goes back to my 21st birthday. A Brandy Alexander was the first cocktail I legally ordered at a bar. I had been going into that bar and ordering drinks for two years without ever having been carded, imagine the bartender's surprise. But things were more lax back in those days and the DUI laws not as punitive. Memories abound whenever I shake one up, and I do, frequently.

THE
BRANDY ALEXANDER

INGREDIENTS:
1 Part Cognac
1 Part Dark Creme de Cacao
2 Part Half &Half
Ice

Garnish: Dark Cocoa Powder, Dusting of Nutmeg 

Glass: Cocktail or Coupe

Tools: Cocktail Shaker

DIRECTIONS:
Dip the rim of your glass and some of the creme de cocoa then into the dark cocoa powder. Chill the glass in the freezer.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the cognac, dark creme de cacao and the half and half then shake until chilled.
Strain into your chilled glass, dust with some nutmeg and serve.

SOME BRANDY ALEXANDER TRIVIA
  • John Lennon loved Brandy Alexanders and called them his "milkshakes".
  • Mirroring John Lennon, Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show asks a bartender for a malt, "Do you know how to make a brandy Alexander? Just leave out the brandy and give us the Alexander!"
  • The Brandy Alexander also made an appearance on the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • It was featured in the movie The Days of Wine & Roses where Jack Lemmon buys Lee Remick the drink because she loves chocolate but doesn't like the taste of alcohol.
  • The Brandy Alexander has been mentioned in numerous other television shows and movies from the first days of film to present day, including The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Cheers, Fantasy Island, the Rockford Files, American Horror Story 5,  Three's Company, No More Orchids, Tattoo, Bedazzled, just to name a few.
  • There are two songs entitled Brandy Alexander, including one by Feist.
January 31st is Brandy Alexander Day.






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20160130

The SAGZERAC Or How I Adulterated the Sazerac for the SAG Awards.

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The Sazerac is a venerable, vintage cocktail made with Rye Whiskey, a sugar cube, some Peychaud's Bitters and an Absinthe wash (wash the inside of the glass, then discard the spirit). I love a great Sazerac, my 2nd favorite* Mardi Gras drink, but did I mess with the recipe? You bet I did, it's just what I do. It's my little shout-out to @Thitia and my friends over at Stylamerican and tonight's SAG Awards.

I removed the absinthe and sugar cube altogether and replaced them with an anise, cardamom, fennel infused simple syrup. I also replaced the Peychaud's Bitters with Scrappy's Lavender Bitters. Absinthe and Peychaud's are really the defining elements of a Sazerac so just slap me now because I'm not done yet. I also added a wee bit of good blackberry brandy. These all work nicely with the spicy Templeton Rye for a version of Sazerac where, like in films, you have to practice a little suspension of disbelief.

I'll catch flack for this, but let's be fair, I'm not calling this a Sazerac either ....

The
SAGZERAC
Cocktail

 
INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
1/2 Oz. Blackberry Brandy
1 Tsp. Anise Cardamom Simple Syrup*
Dash of Scrappy's Lavender Bitters
Ice

GARNISH:  Star Anise, Orange Twist

TOOLS: Mixing Glass, Bar Spoon

GLASS: Old Fashioned

DIRECTIONS:
Chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill a mixing glass with ice.
Pour in the whiskey, the blackberry brandy, the anise cardamom simple syrup and the lavender bitters then stir until chilled.
Add a large ice cube to your glass then strain the cocktail over the ice, garnish and serve.

* My favorite Mardi Gras drink was, is and always will be the Ramos Fizz.
 
*ANISE CARDAMOM SIMPLE SYRUP RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
1 Tablespoon of Cardamom Seeds, Crushed
1/4 Tsp. Fennel Seeds, Crushed
4 Star Anise
 
DIRECTIONS:
Add 2 cups of sugar and one cup of water to a saucepan and heat just to boiling. Immediately remove from the heat, add crushed cardamom seeds, 4 star anise, the fennel seeds and dried orange peels and allow to steep until cooled. The longer the herbs stay in the syrup, the stronger the flavor will be. Strain and store in the refrigerator for up to two months or until you see crystallization.

Enjoy the Awards, don't have too many of these unless you have a limo to and from your festivities!
 



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20160127

The HAMMERED NAIL

I grabbed my bottle of Drambuie the other day to do a version of the Robert Burns cocktail for Burn's Night and it got me going on Drambuie again. Drambuie is a spiced honey and herbal liqueur distilled from Scotch that I've been drinking for decades as an after dinner tipple.  I always have a bottle of Drambuie in my bar, everyone should. Not only is it a classic digestif, but it's one of the two ingredients in a Rusty Nail and it goes nicely with Champagne in a Bonnie Prince Charlie.

After doing the Robert Burns Cocktail, I thought I'd try the Drambuie with another whiskey and something with chocolate and coffee. The combination sounded appealing to me so I grabbed some Templeton Rye, Caffe Borghetti, and some Creme de Cacao and set about working out the balance. At the very end I added some orange bitters to counterbalance the richness and spices of spirits used and hit the sweet spot. Gaz Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6 are the best for this because they bring the most brightness from the orange to the party.

What I ended up with reminded me of a drinkable chocolate orange spice truffle spiked with whiskey, lots and lots of whiskey. Yeah, I  can live with that.

The
HAMMERED NAIL
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 Oz. Rye Whiskey
1/2 Oz. White Cream de Cacao
1/2 Oz. Drambuie
1/2 Oz. Coffee Liqueur
2 Hearty Dashes Orange Bitters
2 large Ice Cubes

GARNISH: Orange Twist, Bordeaux Cherry

GLASS:
Old Fashioned  (Rocks)

DIRECTIONS:
Chill your glass in the freezer while you get your ingredients together. Add two large ice cubes to the glass then pour in the whiskey, the creme de cacao, Drambuie and the coffee liqueur and stir until chilled. Tap in the bitters, garnish and serve.

My little personal bit of Drambuie history:

When I first started drinking Drambuie the bottle looked like this:



Now it looks like this:
 

I like the old bottle much better, it looks like a good liqueur. The new bottle makes it look like cheap whiskey. I kept the last old one I had and I pour my refills into it. It's a little quirk that is an ode to my sister, who introduced me to Drambuie (as she did many other spirits) way back when. Dear Drambuie, go back to the old bottle, it's just classier.



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20160125

The ROBERT BURNS Cocktail for Burn's Night



WHAT IS BURN'S NIGHT?

Burn's Night, or Robert Burns Day, Robbie (Rabbie) Burns Day or Burn's Nicht, is an annual celebration in Scotland of their most famous poet and bard, Robert Burns who was born January 25, 1759. Burns, who wrote Auld Lang Syne, is the national poet of Scotland and every year they celebrate by having a Burns Supper, serving traditional Scots food and, of course, drinking Scotch.


Happily there is a great cocktail called The Robert Burns (very similar to a Rob Roy) which is perfect for Burn's Night celebrations and there's also a great article by Gary "Gaz"Regan on it's provenance. In it Regan mentions several variations, one of which is David Embury's 1950s adaptation which suggests Drambuie replace the absinthe. (I checked Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks and he also lists a version using Benedictine instead of absinthe.)

Though a classic Robert Burns is Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, absinthe and orange bitters, I rather liked the idea of the Drambuie. Drambuie is a liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices and is a warmer and less aggressive liqueur than absinthe, making this version of the drink smoother and less herbal.

I replaced the orange bitters with Peychaud's and added an orange twist instead of lemon.

The
ROBERT BURNS
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:

2 Oz. Scotch Whiskey
1 Oz. Drambuie
3/4 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 Dash of Peychaud's Bitters

GARNISH: Orange Twist

GLASS:
Cocktail (Martini)

TOOLS: Mixing Glass

DIRECTIONS:

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until chilled, strain into the cocktail glass, garnish and serve.

Pair up with a few Scots shortbread biscuits (cookies) and you have the perfect Burn's Night treat.
 

 



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20160122

The CASABRANCA COCKTAIL Inspired by Casablanca


Based on Murray Burnett and Joan Allison's play, Everybody Comes To Rick's, the classic movie Casablanca was released on January 23, 1943.

Ah, Casablanca. Classic film noir with that bittersweet ending. I wasn't even born when it came out, yet I rewatch it about once a year. Recently, on a rainy evening, I yanked out my DVD for a little Rick-Ilsa-Victor-Morroco fix. I love that movie, the film noir look, the era and especially the soundtrack. As Time Goes By is a beautiful piece of music and that classic piano scene where Sam (Dooley Wilson) performs it is my favorite part of the movie, and, of course, provides one of the film's most classic quotes.

"Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'." ~ Ilsa*

I had also recently been working with Fernet Branca and "Casabranca" just popped into my mind. I put the disc on pause and headed to my bar. After all, what's a classic forties movie without a cocktail? 

Though gin was a more popular liquor during World War II, the Diplomatico was my choice to pair with the Fernet because, of the pineapple juice and coconut honey. With the (bitter) herbal Amaro balancing the sweetness of the pineapple juice and honey, it turned out to be a "cocktail noir" of a pina colada.

Yeah, its a pun but, come on, it's a really good pun for a really good cocktail and "il est un cocktail parfait" for Casablanca viewing!

The
CASABRANCA
Cocktail

A Cocktail Noir

INGREDIENTS:

2 Oz. Diplomatico Reserva Rum
1/4 Oz. + 1/2 Tsp. Fernet Branca
2 Oz. FRESH Pineapple Juice
1 Tbsp. Coconut Honey Simple Syrup*
Ice

GARNISH: Pineapple Chunk, Bourdeaux Cherry

TOOLS:
Cocktail Shaker
GLASS: Cocktail (Martini)

DIRECTIONS:

Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the rum, Fernet Branca, pineapple juice and the coconut honey simple syrup (*warm 1 heaping tablespoon of Coconut Honey Creme with 1 HOT tablespoon of water) and shake until chilled. Pour into the cocktail glass, garnish and serve.

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

* Often misquoted as "Play it again, Sam."



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20160121

YOU NEED A HUG! COCKTAIL RECIPE


First celebrated on January 21st, 1986 in Clio, Michigan, National Hug Day was created by Kevin Zaborney to encourage the world to hug the people they loved more often. Zaborney felt something was needed to combat the general malaise that struck folks after the holidays and started the movement, though he felt ultimately it would fail because, "American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public". Happily he was wrong because thirty years later the world still  celebrates National Hug Day.

Curious, I googled to see if there was a hug cocktail, and sure enough there is a cocktail called the Big Hug which consists of Irish Cream, creme de cocoa and hot cocoa. Like I always do, I changed that recipe slightly and added some coffee bitters to balance the sweetness and a cinnamon stick for a little spice.

YOU NEED A HUG
COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS:
1 Oz. Irish Cream Liqueur
1 Oz. Creme de Cacao
2 Dashes of Coffee Bitters
Hot Cocoa

GARNISH: Cinnamon Stick, Espresso Powder

GLASS: Irish Coffee Mug

DIRECTIONS:
Tap the bitters into the glass. Add the Irish cream liqueur and the creme de cocoa then pour in the hot cocoa and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a dusting of espresso  powder.

Happy Hug Day, go hug someone!






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20160119

BEES KNEES COCKTAIL with Spices and Lavender


I have been wanting to do an adaptation of a prohibition cocktail called the Bees Knees for ages. You can't talk about prohibition cocktails without mentioning the Bees Knees, named for a favorite flapper era slang term "the bees knees" which meant something was the epitome of cool.  I first saw a recipe in Harry Craddock's 1930 "The Savoy Cocktail Book" then later found the recipe in a copy of Frank Meier’s 1936 “The Artistry of Mixing Drinks” and was intrigued. It sounded good to me, despite the fact most modern references claim the recipe was originally created to hide the taste of the bathtub gins of those days. I thought I'd enjoy a Bee's Knees, especially if a great aromatic gin was employed.

When my friends over at Wild Hibiscus sent me some lovely gifts which included a jar of Honey Ridge Farms' Honey Créme, Spiced I thought I'd better get some in a cocktail before I ate it all up right from the jar with a spoon. Then I  got a bottle of Hendrick's Gin for my birthday and everything fell into place for my own version of the Bees Knees.
 

The whole key to this cocktail is the great aromatics from the Hendrick's and the spiced honey simple syrup which hits the palate with a deliciously sinful wollop. It's almost as sinful as visiting a secret, illegal speakeasy. Aren't you lucky you have the password?

If you're looking for some great giggle water to enjoy in your personal juice joint, toss on some glad rags, hop in your flivver and go grab the ingredients but limit yourself to two unless you want to get spifflicated!

Spiced Lavender
BEES KNEES
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:

2 oz Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Spiced Honey Simple Syrup 2:1
2 Tablespoons Pasteurized Egg White
2 Dashes Lavender Bitters
Ice

GARNISH:  Lemon Twist

TOOLS:
Cocktail Shaker

GLASS:
Coupe

DIRECTIONS:

Chill the glass in the freezer. To make the Spiced Honey Simple Syrup, warm 2 tablespoons of the spiced créme honey with 1 tablespoon of water in the microwave for 15 seconds, stir until the honey is dissolved and allow to cool.
Add the Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, spiced honey simple syrup and egg white to a cocktail shaker without ice (dry shake) and shake for 30 seconds to emulsify the egg into the cocktail and aerate to create a foam. Add ice and shake to chill.
Pour into the chilled glass, tap the lavender bitters on top and garnish with a lemon twist.





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20160116

TIRAMISU MARTINI Cocktail Recipe


To celebrate International Day of Italian Cuisines I am FINALLY posting a recipe for a Tiramisu Cocktail. I have no idea why I have never created a tiramisu drink before this. I always meant to, never got around to it. Finally I did, maybe inspired by the great Cafè Borghetti liquor I acquired and some lovely rum, kindly sent to me by Gubba Rum.

Invented sometime in the 1960s, Tiramisu is a layered Italian dessert made with a Mascarpone meringue, espresso soaked lady fingers, a bit of cocoa and usually a splash of something boozy like rum, Marsala wine or even a coffee liqueur. Like so many recipes I get interested in (alcoholic usually) there are several claims to its invention.

The Rosengarten Report attributes the beginnings of the Tiramisu Dessert to Carminantonio Iannaccone of Le Beccherie in December of 1969. Roberto Linguanotto claims he and his apprentice, Francesca Valori (whose maiden name just happens to be Tiramisu) was the first to serve the dessert somewhere in the sixties at Le Beccherie. Still others say it was created in the 17th century in Siena in honor of Grand Duke Cosimo III, but no cookbooks prior to the sixties have any "tiramisu" named recipes. According to Wikipedia, the first printed mention of tiramisu dates only back to the 1980s.

Do I care who and when it was invented? Not really. I am always interested in the provenance of my culinary endeavors, but never to the detriment of my recipes. My primary goal is always to make a culinary inspired cocktail that tastes good and this one really, really does. Providing, of course, that you love coffee cocktails, which I really, really do.

The
TIRAMISU
COCKTAIL 

INGREDIENTS:
1 Oz. Gubba Gold Rum
1/2 Oz. Crème de Cacao
1  Oz Coffee Liqueur
(I used Cafè Borghetti)
1 Oz. Half & Half
Ice

GARNISH: Dark Cocoa & Espresso Powder Dusted Lady Finger and Rim 

TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker, Blender (optional)

GLASS: Cocktail (Martini)

DIRECTIONS:
Dip the rim of the glass in some crème de cacao or coffee liqueur then into a mixture of dark cocoa powder and instant espresso powder. Chill the glass in the freezer.
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled.
Pour into the chilled glass, lay the dusted lady finger across the top and serve with a few dark chocolate dipped lady fingers.

If you happened by here on January 17th, Happy International Day of Italian Cuisines.




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20160115

The RYE RACKETEER Cocktail Inspired by The Scofflaw

 

 Before the Volstead act, rye was the drinking man's choice of whiskey and the first whiskey distilled in America. It was what the Colonists turned to when their rum supplies were cut off during the American Revolution, even good old George Washington himself distilled rye whiskey.  Over a hundred years later, during prohibition, bootleg rye whiskeys became middle America's answer to bathtub gin and a little town in Iowa was brewing up some of the best. Just ask one of the the original good fellas, Al Capone.


Templeton Rye was originally a bootleg* moonshine produced in Templeton, Iowa. Called "The Good Stuff" it was said to be the favorite tipple of the above mentioned gangster, Al Capone. When Capone got nabbed, sent up the river for tax evasion, rye fell out of favor, nearly disappearing from the cocktail scene and by the sixties it became mistakenly viewed by many as an old, poor man's drink. Thankfully today's mixography scene is more knowledgeable and open minded and rye is slowly reemerging a very viable alternative to bourbon and scotch.

Spicier and fruitier than its bourbon descendant, rye whiskey gave birth to many classic cocktails, including the Sazarac, the Manhattan and the godfather of all mixed drinks, the Old Fashioned. Yes, these were all originally made with rye. Another great vintage rye cocktail was the Scofflaw, a drink I enjoy - probably because I really like the name.



According to Gary "Gaz" Regan (@gazregan), on January 15, 1924 prohibitionist Delcevare King had a contest to describe the lawless drinker and the term "scofflaw" was the winner. It was a pretty apt term for those who illegally drank hooch during Prohibition, thus "scoffing" the law from 1929 to 1933. Naturally, somebody had to make a drink with this name and someone did - not in poor old dry America but at Harry's Bar in Paris!

I decided an adaptation on the rye based Scofflaw was a perfect way to celebrate National Bootleggers Day, which also happens to be the birthday of Al Capone and the birthday of the son (Meryl) of the original creator of this famous rye whiskey, Alphonse Kerkhoff. Fortunately, today's new Templeton Rye Distillery kindly gifted me a bottle of their "good stuff" to help in all the celebrations.
 
Templeton bases its rye on the original Kerkhoff moonshine recipe from Iowa. Kind of a fun back story if you're in need of a conversation starter but I'm an old "Mad Woman" so none of that affects my taste buds. Flavor is what influences me and Templeton brought it in spades. Admittedly, I'm no expert on whiskeys, but sipping it I could taste the spices at the forefront. I  thought I detected allspice but then the fruit notes hit my palate, bringing a surprising sweetness that scooted the spices to the back a bit. Finally the woodiness from the oak finished up with the rye and a bite of  - black pepper?
My mind went right to pairing it with dark chocolate and cherries so I immediately went and grabbed one of the homemade dark chocolate and cherry truffles I'd made and finished off both the glass of rye and the truffle (okay, TWO truffles) before happily falling asleep.



The gift of the Templeton for Bootleggers Day is what steered me to the Scofflaw whose original recipe is comprised of rye, dry vermouth, some lemon juice and Grenadine with a few dashes of orange bitters. Now, you know me, I'm always messing with the classics and I've gone and done it again here. Because I'm a bit of a scofflaw myself, I switched out the dry vermouth with a favorite Amaro, Fernet Branca, changed the orange bitters to chocolate and replaced the sticky, sweet Grenadine with some tart, dark cherries.That chocolate cherry truffle with the rye combo really got me going, boy.

Here is my bespoke Bootleggers Day cocktail recipe based on the Scofflaw:

The
RYE RACKETEER
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 Oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
1/4 Oz. Fernet Branca
5 Dark Cherries
1/2 Oz. Bordeaux Cherry Juice
3/4 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Scrappy's Chocolate Bitters
Ice

GARNISH: Rye Soaked Bordeaux Cherry, Lemon Twist

TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker, Muddler, Strainer

GLASS: Coupe

DIRECTIONS:

At least 8 hours ahead toss a few cherries in the rye to get them nice and hammered.
Chill the glass in the freezer.
When you're ready to mix the cocktail, muddle the cherries with the lemon and cherry juices in the bottom of the cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, pour in the Templeton Rye and the Fernet Branca then shake until icy cold.
Strain into the chilled coupe, tap in the chocolate bitters, garnish with a few rye soaked cherries, the lemon twist, touch your finger to the side of your nose and serve.


* WHERE DID THE TERM BOOTLEG & BOOTLEGGER COME FROM?

In the 1700s the “leg of a tall boot,” was called a boot-leg. This handy area was often used as a way to hide contraband. During prohibition small flasks and bottles were often hidden in much the same manner and the term became applied to those in the illegal alcohol trade.


Happy Bootleggers Day and thanks to Templeton for the inspiration!

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Updated 1-2017

20160114

A Cherry Riff on the FRENCH 75 Cocktail Recipe

 
Today is my birthday and I got both a lovely bottle of Hendrick's Gin and a bottle of Champagne as gifts. Champagne is my normal celebratory tipple but that Hendrick's raises another possibility and one that suits this particular mile marker of my life - both of these spirits are part of the vintage classic cocktail, the French 75. (No, I'm not going to speak aloud this particular life marker - it's NOT 75 but the name of my birthday cocktail for this year should give you a pretty clear clue.)

Created at Harry's New York Bar in 1915 by barman Harry MacElhone, the French 75 is made from gin, usually a London dry, lemon juice, dry or Brut Champagne, a wee bit of sugar and properly served in a Collins glass. It's definitely a bubbly version of the then very popular Tom Collins. It was named after a WWI French artillery gun, supposedly because both had a big kick. I don't personally know about the artillery gun (oh, come on, despite my advanced age, I was born WAY after the Great War), but I do know the French 75 has enough booze in it to kick you right into a Flanders Field of a hangover if you're not careful. (You young whippersnappers can Google Flanders Field for the reference.)

Harry MacElhone's version was published under simply the "75" and used Calvados, gin, grenadine, and absinthe while in Robert Vermeire's "Cocktails: How to Mix Them" lemon juice was added to the mix. The currently popular recipe version showed up in "Here’s How" in 1927, then in 1930 "The Savoy Cocktail Book" added "French" to the name. David Embury's "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" has a recipe that uses Cognac instead of gin, but, according to David Wondrich, that makes the French 75 a King's Peg and I'm not doing any king or peg thing on my birthday. Besides, I have that lovely Hendrick's Gin!

Like I always do, I got all crotchety and defiant and went my merry, old fart way by adding some cherries (cherries are a great preventative for arthritis) and a dash of rosemary (for memory loss) and lavender bitters (for the aches and pains of old joints.)
 

TERRI'S CHERRY 65
COCKTAIL

(Serves 1 in a Collins glass, 2 in a flute)
 
INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Hendrick's Gin 
2 Tablespoons Cherry Simple Syrup*
1/2 Oz. Lemon Juice
5 Oz. Brut champagne
3 Dashes Wigle Rosemary Lavender Bitters

GARNISH:
Lemon Twist, Sprig of Rosemary and/or Bordeaux Cherry

GLASS: Collins or Flute

TOOLS:
Cocktail Shaker

DIRECTIONS:

Chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add the Hendrick's, lemon juice and cherry simple syrup and shake until chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass half-full of cracked ice or divide and serve up (without ice) into 2 flutes, top off with champagne and garnish.
 
* I made my own fresh homemade cherry simple syrup using this method, but you can also use the juice from the Bordeaux Cherries.

A couple of these make for a very Happy Birthday. More than a couple make for a very un-merry birthday or day after your birthday - that French artillery thing kicks in. I plan on being very cautious, as someone my age should ... ah, who am I kidding? Bring on the big guns, I only have so much time left!!

P.S. if anyone dares to nickname this cocktail The Old Fart 75, I will haunt you from beyond.
 
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20160104

ALCOHOL INFUSED FLAVORED WHIPPED CREAM


I pretty much booze up everything, from puddings, candies and cupcakes to baked beans and, yes, I   even turn whipped cream alcoholic. I'm just a booze infusing fool and folks have come to expect to have a little alcoholic kick in whatever I serve them. I make no apologies, it's part of my job ... and it's fun.

If you're looking for a way to spike up your next cocktail or dessert, try this recipe:

BASIC BOOZY WHIPPED CREAM 

INGREDIENTS:
1 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1/3 C. Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract, optional
2 Teaspoons to 1-1/2 Tablespoons Liqueur or Liquor (amount depends on how boozy you want it.)

TOOLS: Large stainless steel bowl, hand mixer, measuring spoons

DIRECTIONS:
Make sure all your ingredients AND tools are as cold as possible. I chill my stainless steel bowl and my mixer blades in the freezer for 20 minutes before whipping my cream. This helps you not to over beat the cream into butter.
Combine all your ingredients then beat on high until soft peaks form.
Serve immediately or within 30 minutes.

Need your whipped cream to last longer?

Here's a little trick I learned in culinary school; add some bloomed gelatin to the whipped cream.

Follow the instructions above THEN:
Put a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin powder into 1/4 cup of cold water in the bottom of a small sauce pan.  Allow the gelatin to absorb into the water for about 3 or 4 minutes. Heat over medium just until the gelatin dissolves then allow to cool slightly.  When cool, gently fold into your whipped cream then re-whip to soft peak consistency.

This stabilized version of whipped cream not only lasts several days in the refrigerator, but is great for when you want to take a dessert or recipe with whipped cream to a party.

Try some of these boozed up whipped cream combinations:

Cointreau with a little bit of orange zest and a teaspoon of orange juice added to the recipe.

2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree and some pumpkin pie spices.

Lemoncello with some lemon zest and teaspoon of lemon juice.

Chocolate liqueur and a teaspoon of dark cocoa powder.

Espresso liqueur and a teaspoon of instant espresso powder.  

Spiced rum with a tablespoon of mango (or papaya, pineapple, etcetera) puree and lime zest.

P.S. This recipe works for non-alcoholic flavored whipped cream as well, just leave out the booze and add some of your favorite spices, purees, extracts and/or flavored powders.




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Top 10 Google Cocktail Searches for 2015?

http://themartinidiva.com
 What were the top 10 Google searches for #cocktails in 2015?

You might be surprised, I certainly was. Here you go and don't blame me, I'm just the messenger ...
1.  Sangria
2.  Moscow Mule
3.  Gimlet
4.  Cosmopolitan
5.  Long Island Iced Tea
6.  Margarita
7.  Mojito
8.  Aviation
9.  Sex on the Beach
10.  Daiquiri 
 
Nearly everything on this list surprised me except the Margarita, Mojito and Moscow Mule. The Moscow Mule, don't  ask me why, was the darling of the cocktail scene throughout last year, no surprise there.  Margaritas and Mojitos are respectable and always popular drinks which can be tweaked with all sorts of fruits and flavors, I'm good with these. Gimlets are classic, easy drinks but I'd have expected them to switch places with Daiquiris which deserve to be much higher on the list.

As for Cosmopolitans, I suppose they will always be on the list as long as women are watching reruns of Sex in the City. Not one of my top 10, but it's an innocuous little pink drink made with cranberry and vodka that can't be totally ruined by amateurs.

Sangria in the number one spot? Hmmmmm. Yes, this fruit infused, sweet and often bubbly punch is seeing a resurgence from it's heyday in the seventies, but number one? Do people really have that much left over wine?

And speaking of the seventies, WTH?? Long Island Iced Tea and Sex On The Beach??? Both are cocktails that should have been buried under the sand along with disco balls and leisure suits. Their high alcohol content and ability to reach "I'm young and stupid and want to get drunk and stupid fast" can be the only factor adding them to the list.

What took me by complete surprise and made me do a little happy dance was seeing the Aviation, a beautiful cocktail that can only truly be made properly with a hard to find, rarely used Crème de Violette liqueur. It's a sophisticated gin drink with subtlety and balance and a thing of beauty. This gave me back some hope for the future drinking habits of humanity.

Happy New Year and here's to a more cocktail enlightened list for 2016! Cheers, M'Dears!
 



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