Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chic Chartreuse

Tonight's venture is a recreation of the delicious Hemmingway (sic) Revival cocktail at Peche.  I did not know the ratios used in my drink last night, but acquired some chartreuse and cocchi americano so figured I'd give it a go.

2 small drinks:

2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Luxardo
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Juice of one small lemon

Shake and serve on the rocks with a maraschino cherry

Well, this drink tasted much stronger than the bar version, but not in a bad way.  The chartreuse imparts a very distinct flavor that is very herby but not in a spicy way.  It has some sweetness to it as well, and that is complemented by the Luxardo.  I really enjoyed this drink, and will definitely make it again soon and often!

Thanks, Carthusian Monks!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Other people's cocktails

Tonight we enjoyed lovely, complex, well shaken drinks at Peche in Austin.  Peche is an absinthe bar, that has an impressive list of specialty cocktails as well. The food is also delicious.  We had mussels and frites, flat iron steak with polenta.  Yum!

I started with a drink called a Hemmingway Revival.  It had Yellow Chartreuse, Cocchi Americano, lemon juice and Luxardo. It was very good, and I would order one again.  I now want to acquire a bottle of Yellow Chartreuse!  And maybe green too!

Everett started with a Gin Gin Mule, which had gin, ginger beer, mint and lime.  It was refreshing, with a nice spice at the finish that was somewhat unexpected.

I moved on to a green vesper, which was perfect.  Everett had to drive home, but that was OK with me!  He had an absinthe god, which was absinthe, orgeat, egg white and lemon juice.  It was a good desert drink, and the orgeat almond tones melded well with the anise of the absinthe.  It was also beautifully presented.

I can barely wait to recreate some of these drinks!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A fitting end to a great weekend

Well, this weekend has been one of the best in a long while.  Aside from not getting my tax information organized and submitted like I meant, the weekend was just about perfect.

Friday I got to take my kids to Town Lake and bop around, have lunch with Everett and the kids, and have a relaxing evening at home.  Saturday was also very relaxing, with some errands run, and then off to Uchiko for a celebration of a friend's birthday.  We saw chef Paul Qui, finalist on Top Chef, and enjoyed his culinary creations.  It was fantastic.  We enjoyed the orange vodka/vanilla vodka/prosecco drink after dinner.  Yum.

Sunday was also fun, with a late afternoon cocktail party.  I tried a new cocktail, the recipe sent to me by my Aunt who lives in Santa Rosa.  Apparently a restaurant in her neighborhood came up with some Oscar night cocktails, they sounded intriguing.  We made the following, with some substitutions (in parentheses).  It was a lovely drink, the thyme really gives it an earthy flavor, and the bubbles give it the heavenly mouth feel.  The grapefruit was a nice tart but sweet component.  It was named "The Clooney".

1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
sprigs of fresh thyme
a few dashes of grapefruit bitters (blood orange bitters)
Roederer brut (La Marca Prosecco)
grapefruit twist

In a shaker, muddle thyme with bitters.  Add vodka and juice.  Add ice and shake, strain into cocktail glass.  Add floater of sparkling wine.  Garnish with grapefruit twist (and thyme sprig).

Because this was a party, and my phone/camera was providing the music, I did not snap a photo.  But it is a pale coral/pink color that is slightly turbid.  Very attractive.

The second cocktail recipe that was sent to me was called the Dragon Girl, named for Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It had rye, vermouth, cherry Heering and some other ingredients.  I did not make this particular drink for time sake, but it did lead me to do a bit of research on Cherry Heering.  I had never heard of it, but I did have some Kirsch in my cabinet, so I wanted to know if the Kirsch was an acceptable substitute for the Heering (it is not).  Both are considered cherry brandies, but the Kirsch is a dry liqueur, often drank neat (I have not) that is colorless.  The Heering is a sweeter liqueur and has a dark color to it.  I wondered if my failure to get the exact sour cherry margarita flavor I wanted was due to using just the Kirsch in my mix, and that would certainly explain the improvement in flavor when I used a little agave.  So, I acquired some Cherry Heering, and the result was quite delectable.  I fine tuned the sour cherry margarita again, and I think I may have the true winner here!

1 oz tequila
1/2 oz Kirsch
1/2 Cherry Heering
1 oz Cointreau or some other orange liqueur
juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon

Shake on ice, pour on the rocks - salted rim optional.

This was outstanding, if I do say so myself!

More to come in the following weeks:  we still have many variations on the martini - I just bought some Genevieve Genever by Anchor Brewing;  as well as Pisco, Cachaca, more Tequila drinks, and the list goes on......!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday is also my Friday!

This is a variation on the dessert drinks I have posted previously.  This may be the best one yet.  Wow.  There is a fair bit of booze in this thing, but it tastes like a milkshake.  Stop at one please.  Maybe two.  OK, three at the maximum!

I am sure I am not the first to come up with this combination, since there are thousands of cocktail recipes at the click of a computer key, but I did not follow a recipe for this, so I am naming it!

The Nutella

1 oz vanilla vodka
3/4 oz dark creme de cacao
3/4 oz light creme de cacao
1 oz Frangelico

Pour all booze over ice
half and half to top off

Stir, enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday is my Friday.....

So, the kids were crying, I had to get dinner together, and it had already been sort of a long day.  I needed a predinner cocktail that would get the job done, and look cool doing it.
The green vesper is a drink modified from the Vesper, a Bond martini.  The original Vesper martini uses 3 parts gin, 1 part vodka and 1/2 part Lillet Blanc.  The Green Vesper subs absinthe for the Lillet.  So this is one seriously powerful drink.

2 drinks: (well, in Bond parlance this is one drink, but we are mere mortals)

3 oz Aviation Gin
1 oz Tito's Vodka
1/2 oz Mythe Traditionale Absinthe

Shake, Pour.  Give your keys to someone else.

There is an ethereal green tint to this cocktail from the absinthe that does not really come through in the photo.  I imagine if one used greener absinthe the color would pop even more.
This is a very very easy drink to imbibe.  It has just the nicest hint of anise from the absinthe, and the gin I used is a very smooth, non-junipery gin.  For as "proof-y" as this drink is, wow, it sure is good.  I garnished with olives because I thought it was a spin on a martini, but would garnish with a twist in the future.  The olives are good, but the briney flavor does not mix so well with the anise.  Live and learn....just means I need to make it again with a twist!

This went down so well, and it technically was 1/2 a drink each, I moved on to another drink.  I used my own palate to drive this creation, and I have to say for the first time trying a new drink I did pretty darn good.  I still have to name it.

 for 2 drinks:

2 oz UV vanilla vodka
2 oz home infused tangelo vodka
Shake with ice, strain into glass
Top off with prosecco (I used a split of Carpene Moldivini)
Garnished with a mandarin wedge

This was heavenly.  Effervescent and has the flavor of vanilla but not too sweet, and the orange/tangerine flavor is also subtle, so nothing overpowers the drink.  It goes well together, and would be perfect for a brunch, but also works as an evening cocktail.  I will definitely put this in my quiver!

Well, I better go drink some water before I start with the 2 cocktail headache!

Salud and cheers!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You can make that one again anytime......

Tonight's tipple is another Creme de Violette recipe.  It was also the inaugural use of my home infused tangerine vodka.  The drink is named the boulevard, and the recipe as written is below:


1¾ Ounce Belvedere Orange Vodka
½ Ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
¾ Ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
¾ Ounce Agave Nectar
¾ Ounce Crème de Violette.

1. Combine Belvedere, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar.
2. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Gently pour Crème de Violette into glass so that it sinks to the bottom of the glass.
4. Garnish by floating one or two edible flowers on top of the drink.

I modified mine based on preferred level of sweetness and what I have on the shelves.....

1 3/4 oz Home infused Tangelo vodka (yum!)
slightly less than 1/2 oz St Germain
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 agave nectar
3/4 oz Creme de Violette

I used a lime slice garnish

This was another very refreshing drink with a good balance of tart and sweet.  It went down smoothly and quickly, and was perfect for the late afternoon/early evening warm weather we are having.  Everett said "feel free to make this one again soon!"
Not to worry, I shall!

Salud and cheers!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Violet Obsession

Tonight's cocktail fare:  The Stormy Morning

I bought the fairly recently available Creme de Violette to make Aviation cocktails, but the color and the floral taste are making me a fan.  So, we are on a violet drink kick!

This drink is also one of my new is so refreshing and floral without being cloyingly sweet.  This would be a perfect brunch drink, but it will do for just about anytime for me!

I modified the recipe according to taste and the fact I had Meyer lemons but no limes on hand.

1.5 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz St Germain
1 oz Freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
4 oz bubbles (I used prosecco)

Over crushed ice, pour the Creme de Violette, then the St Germain, then the lemon juice.  Top off with the bubbles.  Garnish with a citrus wedge if available.  I used all my lemons for juice, so no garnish, oh well.  It is not a key player in this drink like the Sazerac.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweet moonlight.......

Moonlight cocktail - a variation on the aviation.  And worth the effort.  Wow!  Very fruity and delicious.

For 2 cocktails:

3 oz Hendricks Gin
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz lime juice (I only had Rangpur limes, which are not really limes, but whatever, it tasted good!)

Shake, strain, enjoy.  This is a keeper, folks!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Say it's true: Sazerac

Tonight's libation:  The official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac.  I know, I was surprised too, to find out that it is not the Hurricane.  I am also relieved, and have a little more respect for the city, that something like the Sazerac is the official cocktail.

There are several variations, some include a ritual of muddling a sugar cube with bitters and rye in an old fashioned glass and then stirring, and pouring into another cooled old fashioned glass.  I did not partake in this ritual, mostly for time's sake, but also because I have simple syrup on hand and did not want grit of undissolved sugar in my drink.

South Central Sazerac

Place glasses in freezer (I put them in the icemaker box in the ice)
2 oz Bulleit Rye
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

In cooled glasses, place 1/2 tsp of absinthe (or Herbsaint or Pernod if you don't have absinthe and don't want to spend $45+ for a bottle) and rinse the glass with the absinthe, discard (the absinthe, not the glass).

Pour the rye mixture into the absnithe coated glass
Garnish with lemon twist - rub the glass rim with the lemon twist and if you can, squeeze some oil drops into the drink.  I was not successful with that particular move.  Oh well, it was still a really good drink.  Warm, earthy, with a nice anise taste but not overpowering.  The simple syrup toned down the rye burn, too, which I liked.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

In honor of my father......

Today's cocktail, the Aviation, is made in honor of my father, Fred.  His adult life has been spent in the pursuit of many things aviation:  fighter pilot (well, aviator to be absolutely correct, the USMC is a branch of the Navy after all), aviation litigator.  He can't seem to retire or relax, even though he has more than earned it.  So I'll do it for him.....bottoms up!

I guess I am jumping on the pre-prohibition era cocktail bandwagon (or is it spruce goose?).....but the flavors and colors are so fun, I can't help myself.

I made my Aviation with:

2 oz Aviation gin (though any high quality will do)
1/2 oz Luxardo (maraschino liqueur)
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyer lemons for me, please)

Shake and serve straight up with a cherry:

The creme de violette gives it a lovely blue tinge.  The first sip was very maraschino-y which was somewhat overpowering.  However, the longer the drink sat, the more delicious it became.  The maraschino went from the forefront to behind the scenes, and the drink has a nice balance of tart and sweet (recurring theme here).  Variations include substituting Cointreau (or other orange liqueur) for the Luxardo, then it becomes a Moonlight, I believe.  Can't wait to try it!

Salud and Cheers!


Addendum & a word of caution:  This is my new favorite drink.  As the drink settled, the flavor was exquisite.  And it will get you bombed in a matter of about 10 minutes.  Not that is what I was going for, but just to caution you.  Within 20 minutes of finishing the drink, I was feeling very, very good.  But I would have been feeling very, very bad if I had made another.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

That rug really tied the room together.

It's my Friday night.....we've moved onto white russians.

Two variations, one for me, one for Everett (who does not care for sweets):


2 oz Tito's Vodka
1 oz Kahlua (Mocha)
half and half
on the rocks


2 oz vanilla vodka (I used smirnoff, but any will do)
1 oz Kahlua (Mocha)
half and half

I tasted both - mine was definitely sweeter and had no burn.  It was dangerously delicious - like I could get seriously brain damaged if I let myself drink several of these.  His was also good, but definitely had the alcohol burn to it.  I will definitely be making these again!!!

Real Rye

Toiling away at researching the Manhattan, I surmised that the purists only allow Rye to be the base spirit.  I blasphemed last week when I made a Manhattan with Maker's Mark bourbon.  I quite liked it, and there is a fairly vocal contingent in the interweb cocktail world that validates the use of a good bourbon for this purpose.  But, being a rule follower of sorts, and also curious, I purchased some Bulleit Rye today for the sole purpose of Manhattan making.  I also changed the vermouth a little bit by using a splash of both sweet and dry, per some suggestions I have seen.  I garnished with an orange (well, tangelo.......darn it you minneolas!!!!) twist.

2 drinks:
3 oz Bulleit Rye
1/2 tbsp dry vermouth
1/2 tbsp sweet vermouth
shake with ice (also somewhat controverisal, some maintain stirring is the only way, but I like my drinks coooooooooold).
garnished with tangelo twist

I liked this drink quite a bit.  The rye really just tastes like a high quality, complex bourbon.  But hey, I like bourbon, so there you go!  I found myself taking a sip, letting it sit on my tongue for a minute, swirling it around, and then swallowing it.  It has a spicy, cinnamon burn at the end.  Definitely a drink I will nurse, not gulp!  And more of a cold weather evening cocktail than something fruity or effervescent.  

Salud & Cheers! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A soiled martini improvement!

Tonight is just another variation on the martini.  The goal is to try many iterations and find out which I like best.  I used bombay sapphire and dry vermouth.  I made it a dirty martini with some olive brine, the brine was from the jalapeno stuffed olives at the central market olive bar.

Initially the taste was sweeter than I expected or cared for.  I expected a saltier flavor, but I suspect the Bombay Sapphire was the overpowering sweet flavor.  This is a great gin for G&T's but I think I'll stick to Hendrick's, Tanq 10 or some other less sweet gin in the future.

However after the drink settled for a bit, the flavors melded a bit, the sweetness dissipated and the jalapeno brine came to the forefront.  It was nice.

Next to try on the martini list:  Lillet in lieu of vermouth.  I'll let you know how it goes.....

Salud & Cheers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes, simplicity is genius!

V-day 2012.  A veterinary cardiologist in a central Texas city is working late mending the broken hearts of the pets of the citizens.  No time for a fancy cocktail with drams of this and splashes of that.

Chandon + frozen (locally grown and organic....mais bien sur!) strawberry = beautiful looking and festive Valentine's Day drink.  And it tasted yummy too.  God I love bubbles.

Happy Heart Day to you all!!!!

Salud & cheers......

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pre Valentine/Monday's suck

Well, both babysitters in the bullpen have significant others, so we are doing Valentine's day a day early.  Not that the hordes in Austin haven't been scooping up every reservation at any good restaurant for a week at least in celebration of this "holiday" but I digress.  So, Monday is a challenging day all around, the routine snaps back into place, kids are cranky and either over tired or have gotten too much sleep, work is often crazy, etc, etc.  But, it is easy to get in to a good place!  We are going to Perla's - oysters, fish, and such.  I'll report back on any yummy cocktails we try there.
But tonight's creation is nostalgia for a drink in Philadelphia, at a restaurant I gather no longer exists. of the best drinks I have ever tasted, at one of the best restaurants I have ever been to, both of the same name.  When I think of this drink, I think about the last days I spent in Philly....summer, end of residency, saying goodbyes and looking forward to the endless possibility of moving to Austin for my first "real" job.  It was only about 6 years ago, but so much has happened in that time span.....

Tangerine (modified by me because I cannot follow a recipe verbatim)

3 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz cointreau or other orange liquer
1 tbsp tangerine puree (see below)
club soda to taste (~2 oz)

Shake vodka and cointreau with ice in shaker
put dollop of tangerine puree in cocktail glass, pour shaker contents over, top with club soda.  Enjoy!

The Tangerine puree is another story altogether.  There is a company that makes many different fruit purees called Perfect Puree.  I have purchased the prickly pear puree, because after trying to make my own, I realized the time cost analysis would show purchasing was a much better use of my time and money than peeling individual prickly pears and then puree-ing them.  I know PP makes a tangerine puree, but I looked high and low in all the fancy Austin grocery type stores (Whole Foods, Central Market, Specs) to no avail.  So I decided to try making my own.  The closest I could come to an organic tangerine was a Minneola Tangelo.  So I bought some.  Stemmed, seeded and cut, plunked 4 of them into a food processor and thought I was done. They were a little bitter, so I added a tbsp of light agave and mixed some more.  The zest chunks were a little too big for my liking, so I mashed the puree through a mesh sieve and the result was just what I was looking for.  No work is too great for the perfect cocktail!

The drink turned out well.  Very refreshing.  Sweet and tart and effervescent.  Would be perfect for a spring or summer evening.  I will keep this one in my arsenal.  Now that I have a ton of tangelo puree in my freezer, should be easy!

If anyone in Austin sees organic mandarins/tangerines/clementines/satsumas...please let me know!

Salud & Cheers!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Corpse Reviver # 2

Well, I skipped a couple of days due to mild illness......but Sunday morning brought about renewed health and the perfect opportunity to try a "hair of the dog" drink.  Not that I was hungover at all, but it is typically discussed as a brunch type drink, thus the name corpse reviver!

1 oz Meyer Lemon juice
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lillet white
1 oz Hendrick's Gin
1-2 drops of absinthe

Shake with ice, pour straight up

Wow!  This is one delicious drink.  Tart, sweet, hint of anise.  Complex, not bitter.  A very nice alternative to standard brunch fare like mimosas (not that I would ever say a word against mimosas....I love them).

St germain

I had a St Germain cocktail for the very first time a year ago.  It was a French 76 - gin, st germain, lemon juice and champagne.  It was fantastic, and potent!  I loved the floral of the St Germain, so I bought a bottle.  And then I started seeing it EVERYWHERE!  I guess I am cutting edge, no?  Well, it is a very specific flavor and I am not always in the mood for it.  But sometimes it is perfect.  I decided to incorporate it into a martini.

I started with the following ratio:

3 oz Hendrick's gin
2 oz St Germain
1/4 oz vermouth

This was waaaaaay to sweet and syrupy.  I cut it with another ounce of gin and it was much much better.  I think even less St. Germain next time around would be better.  Live and learn I guess!

Salud and Cheers!

Mannhattan in Austin

Along with the martini, my understanding is the Manhattan is also a "sophisticate's" drink.  I did a fair bit of internet research, and there are many opinions on what the base of the manhattan should be.  The zealots seemed to maintain that Rye is the only true main component.  Others suggest bourbon is an acceptable substitute.  I had makers mark on hand, and I did not have Rye, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and make it with bourbon.  I am so glad I did!

50 ml Makers Mark
20 ml sweet vermouth (Martini brand)

Shake with ice, garnish with a twist.

It was very warming, and somewhat sweet with a burn at the end.  I woud definitely make this again.

I also would try some other variations - addition of Angostura bitters, addition of some dry vermouth, there are subtle changes that may change the character of the drink.  I'll keep you posted!

Salud & Cheers!

Cherries from heaven

I also tried this while the kirschwasser was out.....

1 1/2 oz cherry brandy
1 oz lemon juice
1 dash bitters
4 oz tonic water

Pour the cherry brandy, lemon juice and bitters into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Top with tonic water, and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

Taken from

It was also quite nice.  

Sour Cherry Margarita

Lambert's BBQ is a popular and delicious restaurant in Austin.  It is always packed.  If you don't make a reservation, you are likely out of luck.  Example last night, a few of us went w/o reservations thinking we would sit at the bar (there are two in the restaurant) with a drink and wait for a table.....non!  The hour was ~ 2 hours.  Really?  We elected to go elsewhere, but the point is, this is one yummy place.  They have an interesting drink menu all around, but I have a slight obsession with the sour cherry margarita.  Sounds weird, I know, but it is a nice balance between sweet and tart and the cherry is not overwhelming.  And in a town where you can get some type of margarita (all claiming to be the best - ha!) on any corner, finding the truly unique and delicious variations can be work.

1 shot corazon blanco tequila                 
1 shot of cherry brandy (kirschwasser)
1 shot of Grand Marnier or cointreau or Paula's TX Orange.
1 tsp agave  (+/- on this one)
The juice of one half fresh lemon
Dash of Cherry Bitters

Shake with ice, pour over rocks or straight up (to preference).

I had tried various combinations of these ingredients before without pleasing success, but this combo was the hit.  Yay!  

First Martini ever

I had never tasted a martini in my life.  I mean a real, true martini made with just gin and vermouth.  I thought maybe it would be too strong, to bitter, not smooth enough.  After discovering Hendrick's gin, I thought I might be able to tolerate it.

2 oz Hendrick's
1/4 oz Martini dry vermouth

Shaken, with a twist and a small cucumber garnish.

It was delicious.  It was very smooth, and now I understand why this is such a ubiquitous drink.  I look forward to trying various combinations of gin, vermouth, and I recently read somewhere about making a martini with Lillet white rather than dry vermouth.  I'm game.

Salud & cheers!

Initial stirrings.....

Well, I have had an affinity for wine and some spirits for some time.  Although over the past 15 years or so, I have spent more time and effort becoming proficient in picking and drinking red wine and recently bubbles than the art of the cocktail.  I turned 40 in December, and I decided it was high time I had a drink a bit more sophisticated than a pina colada.  So, I embark on this adventure, of cocktails and such.
The goal is to expand horizons, taste new flavors, and try new things.  The research that comes along with trying and understanding certain spirits is quite interesting, and is a history lesson as well as a lesson in spirits.  Until 4 days ago, I had no idea there was such a thing as an absinthe spoon, and certainly no idea what it was used for.  Now I own one (it came with the bottle of I am just short sugar cubes!).
I will be trying a different cocktail for each posting, I will list ingredients and tasting notes, sometimes a picture.

Salud and cheers!