Monday, October 19, 2015

MxMo CII Spooky Sips

This Month's Mixology Monday is being hosted by friend and fellow tiki-phile JFL over at Rated R Cocktails. Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I couldn't in good conscience pass it up. Even though participating did mean having to take a break from carving pumpkins and making tombstones for the yard. Almost instantly I had a name for a drink pop into my head, the Karloff Colada. In case your knowledge of horror movies stretches only as far back as Paranormal Activity 4, Boris Karloff was one of the classic horror great actors. He played the Monster in Frankenstein, the Mummy in the Mummy, and numerous other horror roles, (also he voiced the Grinch in how the Grinch stole Christmas).

For the drink itself I decided to riff on the Pina Colada, and specifically riffing off another riff the Angostura Colada.
2 oz Pineapple juice
1.5 oz Coco Lopez
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Amber Martinique rhum (Neisson Eleve Sous Bois)
.5 oz Navy Style Rum (Lost Spirits Navy Style)
.25 oz Pernod
 6 oz crushed ice
blend the above ingredients and float .25 oz black rum on top, (I used Goslings, but dark Jamaican would work as well)
top with grated nutmeg
There are a few things that change this up from a regular Pina Colada or Painkiller. The lime juice helps to make the drink more tart and less sweet. The anise flavor of the pernod sits there at the finish to again offset the sweetness of the Coco Lopez. What I feel like you end up with is a very well balanced drink that still has the Pina Colada characteristics.

Be sure to check out the other drinks for this months MxMo

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ice to See You

I'm back again for what seems to be one of the few things that actually gets me to blog on occasion, Mixology Monday.  This month's theme is ice, so naturally I took my post title from the McBain movie. Ice is one of those things that alot of bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts like to obsess over. This time I only have one picture but I have three tips.
The first tip is on making shaved ice. Pittsburgh has something of a local icon in Allegheny Commons with Gus and Yia Yia's shaved ice. When the family and I stopped there the last time I noticed how they shaved the ice for the snow cones. They had a large block of ice and something in their hands that produced a find shaved ice in short order. A bit of research and I discovered that the tool for shaving ice was available on Amazon and it was cheap. I tacked one on to an Amazon order and was ready to make some shaved ice. Rather than buy a block of ice, I took one of the wife's metal cake pans filled it with water and stuck it in my beer fridge's freezer. A day or so later I had a home sized block of ice to shave. Me being a rum fiend, a shave ice daiquiri was my first thought. As you can see in the below photo the shaver produces a fine white fluff of ice crystals, though it is adjustable so you can produce different sizes. I should have filled the glass more full to create a full glass of shaved ice, but frankly, my arm was tired. If you were to try this for yourself, I would suggest that you do like I did get the ingredient ready first, then shave the ice, so it doesn't melt while you put the drink together. I also made a nice cool treat for my 2 year old daughter with some shaved ice and homemade Fassionola I had for a Cobra's Fang. 
Tip number two was on how to make a clear ice ball in the home freezer. Basically I used Camper English's technique with a travel mug and a silicone ice ball mold. The travel mug was free with something or other, so it wasn't the best quality mug.  The trick with this is to have the hole in the mold pointed down into the full mug. This will slow the ice formation beneath the mold and for the air bubbles into that chunk of ice and out of the ice ball. 
The third tip is even simpler, and it was given to me recently when I found myself with two spare pineapples. I used one of those nifty little pineapple corers to pop out the center and leave myself with two pineapple cups. Rather than using these right away, I put both of them into the freezer so that when they are used, the drinking vessel itself is frozen and it won't water down the drink as it thaws. 

Check some of my older posts for techniques like making an ice shell and also my break down of the melting rates of different sizes of ices.

Thanks to the Muse of Doom herself over at the Feu  de Vie for hosting this month.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Independent Science

Adam Henry isn't your normal Pittsburgh bartender. For one thing he's only behind the stick about once a month these days. For another he's actually a practicing lawyer. But when he is manning the bar at The Independent Brewing Co. it's guaranteed to be something special. Whether that's a Hunter S Thompson theme night or Tiki X Molecular drinks you know he's bringing science and skill. He's also maybe the only bartender in Pittsburgh making a vermouth fog or Campari Cotton Candy. Because his time behind the bar is limited, pay attention to the Independent's cocktail menus and watch to see when he is working, though you are sure to get a quality cocktail no matter who is there, it just might not be smoking.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Blues

'Tis time for another Mixology Monday (and also time to abbreviate 'it is') and the theme this month is "blue." Naturally, being a tiki guy this meant it was time to break out the blue curacao. But that was only the beginning.

Of course for my drink I turned to the old standby for blue drinks, blue curacao, but that's probably the most mundane of the ingredients in this drink. 

Winter Blues
1 oz Guanbana syrup
1.5 oz Silver Rhum Agricole
1 oz Pineapple Rum
.5 oz Blue Curacao
.5 oz Orgeat
Shake with crushed ice. 

There is a lot there that I need to explain in that recipe. Let's start off with the guanabana syrup. Guanabana is known by many names: guanabana, soursop, cherimoya, custard apple or good old Annona Muricata. It is a tropical fruit prevalent throughout the Caribbean, Africa, southeast Asia and the Pacific and the taste is... unique. As the soursop name indicates it is an acidic tasting fruit, so it's being used here in place of the usual citrus component. It has also been described as having a taste like a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple. Most important for me was that when you don't look closely the bag of frozen pulp looks like it says guava. That's how I came to have frozen guanabana pulp in my life. I decided to treat it like I would passionfruit pulp that I wsa making into syrup and defrost it, mix it with equal parts simple syrup, and then strain it to make it nice and smooth. Tasting a sample I picked up on the pineapple tastes and I decided that my drink needed to have pineapple in it. This gave me an excuse to use the pineapple rum that I made over the summer.

Not being provided with a bottle of Stiggin's Fancy by Plantation Rums, like some people were, I took some fresh pineapple that I had laying around (like I said, tiki guy) and decided to infuse a bottle of gold rum. 

The guanabana also has a certain... 'funk' to it that I felt would best match up with an agricole rhum as opposed to, say, a drier white rum. I tasted the pairing so far and felt that it needed something to help round it out just a little bit, thus the orgeat. Though I feel like coconut cream would have also been a good choice. 

Thanks to Ginhound for hosting this month, we'll see you in February. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

MxMo: Shims

I'll admit it, it's been a while since I've added to the ol' blog. I could give the standard bevy of excuses, family, work, Cocktail Week, but that's only part of the story. It's not that it doesn't interest me or anything, but I'ver really been much more interested in getting deeper involved with the local stuff and building my own knowledge. So I started up a Booze University group where we went through and read 9 cocktail books and talked about them like a college level reading course. I plan on doing it again in the Spring focusing on booze history. But you aren't here for me to talk about myself, you're here for the drinks.
I am once again participating in this month's Mixology Monday.

This month's MxMo, brought to us by, is all about shims. These low alcohol cocktails are the session drinks of the spirits world. Now, I'm a tiki guy by trade, and those aren't exactly known for their subtlety. Someone recently asked if I new of any lower alcohol tiki drinks, the best I could come up with only had 1.5 oz of rum. I was perusing Remixed for the 705th time and came across a drink called Omar's Delight and I was almost instantly inspired. I have two bottles of ruby port sitting around leftover from cocktail week that I didn't know what to do with. I saw that Omar's Delight was in reference to Omar Khayyam, the Persian scholar most famous in the West for his poem the Rubiyat. Thus was born the Ruby Yacht:
Ruby Yacht:
2 oz Ruby port
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Peach Brandy
1/4 simple syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top. 
The lemon, peach, and orange reflect the flavor profile in Omar's Delight. As for how it tastes? i only had a brief taste of the drink before I lost it to my wife. She pronounced it to be quite nice and kept it for herself. So I went and made a Saturn for myself, it was a light tiki drink, only having 1.5 oz of gin. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spodee Summer

The Liqour Fairy recently dropped off some Spodee White for a review. After surviving the Rum B Que, the Fifth of Ju-Luau, and various other commtiments, a nice little drink that I don't need to mix was particluarly appealing. For those that haven't heard of it before, Spodee is a wine fortified with white whiskey as "depression era hooch". The white version has added pineapple, coconut, and other flavors, like amaretto. Basically this makes it a cocktail in a bottle, and having sipped some over ice, it works well for that, sort of a premade tropical drink. 
For me though, a fortified wine with tropical flavors and spices? Sounds like a tiki vermouth. I first tried it in a cross between a martini and an el Presidente.
1.5 oz gold rum
1.5 oz Spodee White
2 dashes orange bitters. 
As expected the Spodee plays well with the rum and the bitters keep it balanced. The extra flavors from the Spodee White livens things up and gives it a tropical feel.

I stepped things up a bit for the second cocktail and looked to the past again. I decided to riff off of the Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail:
1.5 oz gold rum
1 oz Spodee White
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Grendine
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
What I particularly love about the Spodee White in this cocktail, and the one above, is that you get tiki-like flavors without a 12 ingredient recipe list and it will still fit in a coupe.

I like the Spodee, and while it's fine by itself, I really like it in cocktails.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Gypsy Bartender

Giuseppe Capolupo has a name straight out of the 19th century. Instead of being an immigrant bartender who learned his trade in Florence before coming to Pittsburgh in 1898, Giuseppe took the route of first being an internationally touring drummer before starting as a bar back at Bar Marco. He learned his trade there and worked his way up to heading up the program in the strip. He's so dedicated to the life that Bar Marco has let him achieve that he has their logo tattooed on his arm. Stop in and tell him what you like and let him mix you up something.