Category Archives: Mixology Monday

MxMo 15: Tequila

mxmo15-tequilaHere we are, at the 15th Mixology Monday! This month’s host, Matt from My Bar Your Bar, chose as his theme tequila.

Now, I’m really just getting used to tequila. Jen and I don’t drink it often, so I’m still learning how it plays with other flavors. With that in mind, I wanted a simple drink, one that would allow me to test and tinker without having four or more ingredients to futz with.

So I went with the classic margarita, but I swapped out the triple sec for some pear liqueur. I wanted to just switch fruits–pear for orange–and see how it worked. And, in the end, we liked it. Jen made up a batch of guacamole and we sat out back on a sunny Sunday with icy drinks, chips, and guac.

That’s livin’.

Poire-a-rita, chips, guac

Photo by Jennifer Hess.

  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. pear liqueur (I used Mathilde)

Technique: Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or use twice the ingredients, as I did, and strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass.

MxMo Quatorze: Champagne

mxmo14-champagneFor this month’s Mixology Monday, I decided to try something new–the Plum Royale.

I came to this with a melange of inspiration:

  • Anita’s post on the Rosemary Five got me thinking about pairing fruit and spice in a champagne drink.
  • A day after I read her post, I had a Gin Royale at brunch and decided to riff on that.
  • Finally, Jen brought home some beautiful black plums.

Plum Royale

photograph by Jennifer Hess

So with three ingredients already in mind–gin, champagne, and plum–I had to find my spice.

In Googling around to find inspiration, I came across an article about Plymouth gin that discussed, among other things, the botanicals in Plymouth–angelica root, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, lemon peel, orange peel, orris root, and juniper berries. Hm, cardamom. Turns out that cardamom and plums are a popular pairing, so I chose to go that way.

I made up a variation on this Cardamom Lime Syrup, sans lime this time. I also made a plum puree. The puree, gin, and syrup formed the basis for the drink, which I topped with champagne.


Plum Royale (a.k.a. the Eve Plum)

makes two drinks

  • 4 oz. Plymouth gin
  • 2 oz. plum puree
  • 1 oz. cardamom syrup
  • Mint sprig, for garnish

Technique: Shake over ice and divide between two champagne flutes. Top with champagne and garnish with a sprig of mint. (The mint is more for presentation than for flavor, so feel free to leave it out.)

MxMo XII: Whiskey

MxMo WhiskeyJimmy Patrick’s hosting this month’s Mixology Monday, and he’s chosen the theme whisk(e)y. As I noted earlier, I came across a tasty recipe while researching uses for Cherry Heering (I’ve slightly adapted CockailDB’s proportions):

High Hat

  • 2 oz. rye
  • ½ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. lemon juice

Technique: Shake, strain, etc.

The interplay of the rye (Rittenhouse BIB, in this case) and the Heering is fun. The cherry notes play well with the peppery qualities of the rye. This drink belongs in our rotation, for sure.

I’ve been enjoying another group of drinks, as well, also based on rye, and these are a couple of Manhattan/Brooklyn adaptations that have arisen fairly recently: the Red Hook and the Greenpoint. The Manhattan, of course, is whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters; whereas the Brooklyn is traditionally whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino, and a dash of Amer Picon.

As a word of explanation, Red Hook and Greenpoint are both waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Red Hook was a hardscrabble shipping neighborhood–the inspiration for the film On the Waterfront. Greenpoint is a Polish-immigrant neighborhood–the northernmost Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood before you cross Newtown Creek into Queens.

I’m not sure of the Greenpoint’s origins (and, in fact, I’m not sure the name derives from the Brooklyn neighborhood), but as Paul Clarke notes, the Red Hook originated at New York’s Milk and Honey. I’ve assumed that the Greenpoint is simply a Red Hook variation with a green liqueur, named after a “green” Brooklyn nabe, but that might be erroneous folk etymology on my part.

The Red Hook starts with a Manhattan base (rye and sweet vermouth–or, preferably, rye and Punt e Mes) and adds a small amount of maraschino–about one quarter or one half an ounce. The Greenpoint takes the same recipe and substitutes Chartreuse (green, natch) for the maraschino.

These are both delightful drinks, and I thought it might be fun to riff on them a bit. But my reach exceeded my grasp, I’m afraid. I figured I’d mix up some rye with sweet vermouth and Cherry Heering. Ugh. I even borrowed the lemon juice from the High Hat, and still… no. It was like the War of the fucking Roses in that glass.

I suspect there are ways, without getting cutesy, of crafting a Williamsburg or a Park Slope, but I’m afraid I didn’t find that answer tonight.

MxMo11: Winter Warmers

MxMo WarmersThis month’s edition of Mixology Monday comes to us from that fine new magazine, Imbibe, whose editors have chosen the theme winter warmers, in keeping with the issue on the stands right now.

My contribution isn’t particularly original, but it’s a drink I’ve wanted to try at home for a while now: Irish coffee. Jen and I wanted something yummy to go with the ham-and-cheese baked eggs she made for brunch, and Irish coffee seemed like a good pairing.

Imbibe did a piece on this drink in the previous issue–the holiday issue–and although I referred to that feature while prepping the drink, I also consulted other sources to try to get the technique down.

Obviously, it’s not difficult. Irish coffee depends only a little on your technique–mainly layering the cream on top in the right way–and more on the quality of the ingredients. If you have good coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream, you’ll make a yummy Irish coffee even if you flub the technique. It might not be best in show, but it’ll still taste great.
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MxMo 10: Festival!

MxMo FestiveIt’s Mixology Monday time again, this month hosted by Brenda at The Spirit World. Brenda chose the theme festive drinks for this iteration. Sounds great to me! Let’s get festive!

Homemade eggnogI chose a drink that I expect a few others will do this time as well: eggnog. And that’s okay, because it seems that just about everybody has a personal favorite recipe for eggnog, so I expect a lot of variation in ingredients and techniques.

And that’s okay, too, because I have a confession. I’m a nogn00b. Oh, I’ve had eggnog before, if you think that stuff you get at the grocery is eggnog. But I can’t recall ever having homemade nog, and this was my first attempt at making it from scratch. I’ll have fun reading what others have done and, I hope, picking up some tips on making a better nog.

(As an aside, there is a great New York State dairy, Ronnybrook Farm, that apparently makes a superb bottled eggnog. Although I’d love to try it at some point, I didn’t want to use their product for this MxMo entry. Where’s the challenge in that?)

So, on to the nog…
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MxMo 9 Roundup

MxMo BittersWow! 21 entries this time! That’s a great turnout, and I hope I didn’t miss anyone. Pardon the roughness of my prose here, but I wanted to get this post up so everyone can start reading through the entries. Consider this a rough draft. I’ll clean up the links and correct any errors later, so feel free to comment if I’ve screwed something up. And of course if I missed including you, let me know that as well.

Good work, everyone!

First off the gate is Married with Dinner! Cameron brings us his variation on a Manhattan. Although I’ve have many good Manhattans, I’ve never tried either the Carpano Antica nor the Hermes orange bitters. My Manhattan experiences are incomplete!

Then Nick, from Eightbehind, offers the Rude Cosmopolitan.

Macky’s Delectations serves a fine cocktail, the Adonis.

Aussie Anna does her due diligence and hits from down under with the Coco Baby Bitters cocktail, a yummy-sounding creamy, coconut-based drink.

Over on eGullet, Erik Ellestad follows the old fashioned through the years. The Cole Porter lyrics are a fun touch, and as a one who loves both old fashioneds and Cole Porter, I’ll have to track down that song! They’ve got a great conversation going in that thread about the history of bitters–it’s very much worth a read. I don’t necessarily think that MxMo needs to revolve around cocktail recipes, as long as people are sharing their enjoyment and knowledge with others. So a bit of discussion about the formulation and history of bitters is very welcome!

Darryl, a.k.a. the natural born cynic, brings us the Pegu Club cocktail. It seems that Darryl is entirely new to bitters, but has since learned how versatile a bottle of Angostura can truly be. Welcome to the cult, Darryl!

Matt, from My Bar Your Bar, offers the Gloria cocktail. Hmmm, looks like I have everything I need for that… G-L-O-R-I-A! Gloooooooooria!

Michael C. experiments in his midnight kitchen with different formulations on two classics: the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned. It’s always good to see people tweak their drinks recipes to fit their own tastes, so check out Michael’s efforts.

Haalo, who’ll apparently cook almost anything at least once, uncaps her Peychaud’s for a cognac-based Sazerac. Although that drink is now usually made with rye whiskey, the cognac formulation has good pedigree. I’m eager to try one myself! Ah, and I notice that she can apparently get real absinthe down in Melbourne. Lucky Haalo! I’d love to try a Sazerac with real absinthe. My green fairy is envious!

I’m honored to help Seamus inaugurate a new blog at Bunnyhugs, where he braves a new spirit, Suze, a gentian-based potable bitter. I think you’ll have a swell time reading Seamus’s tale of acquiring and experimenting with the spirit Suze.

Meeta chimes in from German with a Manhattan. Her tales of photography woes ring a bell with my foodie wife, who reports similar frustrations getting her food photos just right.

Another from the Antipodes! Mary brings us a couple of yummy-sounding, lightly fruity drinks.

Then Imbibe Unfiltered offers a creation of Boston bar manager Jackson Cannon, The Metamorphosis, inspired by Kafka.

At The Art of Drink, Darcy taste-tests five bitters and describes their flavor profiles.

Rick at Kaiser Penguin also does a face-off, testing Angostura versus Fee Old Fashioned, and Fee Orange against Regan’s Orange. (Good to see you again, Rick.) Check it!

Handy Snake’s Kurt brings out his first MxMo post with a couple of gin cocktails.

Back at eGullet, thirtyoneknots chimes in with the Bijou and Tailspin cocktails.

That old bittered sling Paul weighs in at Cocktail Chronicles with a Martini and a Manhattan.

Mike S. (another Mike! we’re taking over!) is another first-timer in the MxMo field, and he offers us the Periwinkle, the Giles Goatboy, and his own recipe for lavender bitters. That’s a hell of a concept, Mike, and I’d like to try that myself some time.

Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour serves up another Manhattan, his made with the Fee Old Fashioned bitters.

Finally, although Robert Hess doesn’t participate in MxMo, it’s worth noting that he also did a bitters-based post today.

MxMo 9: Bitters

MxMo BittersFor MxMo 9, I wanted to go a little crazy and make my own batch of bitters. My limoncello experiment worked well enough that bitters seemed a logical next step. Now, Darcy O’Neil reviewed the new book The Art of the Bar, back in September, and with his review, he included a bitters recipe from the book, Dr. Schwartz’s Cherry Vanilla Bitters.

You’re probably already thinking, oh man, cherry-vanilla bitters. Those would rock an Old Fashioned, especially if you leave out the cherry garnish altogether and let the bitters do the work. And you’re right. I tried them with both Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek, and they play well with both bottlings.

I also quite liked these bitters with a Rob Roy and a rye Manhattan. But I was surprised by the drink in which they really shine.
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MxMo: Exotics

MxMo ExoticThe theme of October’s Mixology Monday is exotic drinks, a category of beverages in which I am quite the raw novice. Exotic beverages always seem to require a lot of equally exotic ingredients that I don’t normally keep on hand: passion fruit, orgeat, rums older than Dakota Fanning–you get the idea.

This class of drinks intimidates me, but it also intrigues me greatly, so I wanted to start moving in its direction. After all, these drinks are some of the best liquid fun you can experience, if they’re done right, so they’re worth the investment of time and capital.

I’ve paid close attention this summer to Rick’s tiki experiments at Kaiser Penguin. A few months ago, he posted a recipe for a Noa Noa cocktail, a mix of rum, lime, brown sugar, and mint. Sounded yummy to me, so the Noa Noa was my first choice.

Noa NoaThe recipe Rick posted (which I won’t actually reproduce here, since I used his recipe almost verbatim) called for demerara rum. I thought I had a convenient source for that, but I was wrong. In its place, I used another African rum, Starr, a product of the island of Mauritius.

Starr’s flavor profile bears notes of citrus, cardamom, and a touch of vanilla, making it a lovely rum for sipping on its own. But it also mixes nicely, and my wife and I both loved the Noa Noa. Thanks, Rick!

My second exotic was a slight variation on the El Floridita No. 1. So slight in fact that if were to alter its numbering in any way, I’d have to go with a cliché and call it El Floridita No. 1.1.

El FloriditaThe pink tinge comes from the use of hibiscus syrup in place of simple syrup. My wife had made the hibiscus syrup for an unrelated food-writing commission, so since we had that on hand, I thought it would make a nice substitution.

El Floridita 1.1

Adapted from Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology

  • 2 oz. light rum
  • ¼ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. hibiscus syrup
  • maraschino liqueur to taste

Technique: Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.