Cocktails and Creativity are sprouting like Spring weeds!
Finally! A post about cocktails….the countdown begins! Three more weeks and another cocktail menu will be hammered out and hopefully I can get some surprises out there for everyone. My main goal on this menu is to have some ingredients people have never heard of or tasted. I want to convert Vodka drinkers…..make them a believer in Gin or bow down to Don Julio. There’s just too many good things out there to just be wasting it on plain tasting nothingness…..not to say I hate vodka or anything, but I believe cocktails can be enhanced by other spirits and can spring to life. Tasting a fresh cocktail for the first time, something different or unexpected really just pops and wow’s you. You have all these unfamiliar flavors dancing around your palate kicking your taste buds to say “Hey! Wake Up! I’m your new best friend!”. That is my focus, class is in session so pay attention kiddies!!
So the first cocktail I put together was a combination of two spirits. I have been wanting to expand my repertoire on Tequila, Mezcal and Sotol. I spent a morning in front of the T.V. with pen and paper and just wrote all the flavors and scents I get from these three and then tried to figure out what could mix well with those. Instead of baking….I’m shaking, just not as cool as Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. My final product really surprised me and my GM as well. It’s a combination of Mezcal and Tequila. I found out that blending the two together cuts down on the smoky flavors that some people don’t like. Mezcal is hard enough to introduce people to, but I absolutely love it. I threw in a little pineapple syrup and also muddled some red bell pepper which adds to the sweetness and beautiful rosy color. In the picture below there’s red clay sea salt from Hawaii on the rim, but I think I’ll go against that in the final product.
After my little excursion out to S.F. for breakfast with Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve I drove around for a bit and decided to head to one of my favorite spots: Ledger’s! I ended up spending about $300 there, but oh boy am I excited! One of my favorite new bottles is this Barolo Chinato Cocchi. It’s a red wine from Italy infused with herbs and spices and is usually drank as an aperitif. It smells phenomenal and adds great flavor to these cocktails. Dark rum usually has cooking spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and the like as its nose, so I thought “eh ok” and pulled out some Cruzan Single Barrel rum. Now I made this cocktail in a few different ways, the first being with sugar cubes and Meyer lemon tincture, but I think my last attempt tonight at home solidifies what I’ll present. The cocktail consists of Chinato, Rum and Meyer lemon cordial that I cooked up at home. I honestly have to say and steal a line “I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but hey Beep Beep!”. This is one of my new favorite cocktails to drink. You can smell the spices from the rum and Chinato, a blood-red hue comes out from the two mixing and the cordial adds a tangy viscous flavor profile. I could drink these all day, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make another now and I’ll be right back..
Ok, without further ado, here’s what the product will look like!
The last one I have for now is made for the upcoming seasonal fruits in March and April. Strawberries and Rhubarb will both be in season and hopefully we’ll have our cobbler back at work because this will pair nicely with it. What I ended up with was some Gin, strawberries, home-made Tamarind syrup and a little bit of Rhubarb bitters. I may tinker with the tamarind and some balsamic vinegar syrup I made at home (courtesy of Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz previously of Absinthe and now part of Comstock Saloon). My favorite part about this drink is when you go to take your first sip. You draw the bucket glass to your mouth and your first inhale is pure spring. Strawberry jumps in your nose and all I can think about is a sunny day and blossoming trees. Check it out!
I’ve also been tasting some new beers as you may have seen from the past few posts. This company Jolly Pumpkin is brewing some really interesting beers and they’re aging them in oak casks as well. Their amber ale is aged in Oak casks (it’s the one with the Kitty Pirate) and their brown ale is made with cocoa and spices. Both really potent beers, but they are both absolutely amazing. I loved the amber the best since it has a slightly acidic taste that it pulled out of the oak barrels.
Hopefully next post I’ll have some more good pictures and info for you. My dark cocoa bean, vanilla bean and ginger tinctures just finished up so I’ll keep you up to date on those! I’m also making a batch of Tepache which is a Mexican pineapple beer, which smells so good right now! 2 more days and it should be done! Maybe in another week or two I’ll start my first batch of home-made bitters as well. It really depends on how much room I can take up in the fridge and garage, I don’t wanna take anything over! Lastly…..tomorrow is the Germain Robin road trip! Heading to the distillery with the USBG for a day at the distillery to check out all the goodies and then off to Spoonbar in Healdsburg! Get excited people, I know I am!