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Recent thoughts from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

“Holidays Mean Family – We Sell Liquor,” reads the sign on a liquor store in West Somerville, reminding us that as we gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, we’re probably going to want to have a cocktail in hand.

This Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to the humble cranberry. We love it in cranberry sauce, both the delicious, homemade version and the weird kind that comes in a can. We also love it in cocktails. At Toro, the Nantucket Mule is a delightful riff on the classic Moscow Mule. Served in a copper mug much like the original, it is made with cranberry vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Stop in for one tonight as you brace yourself for the big meal.

Over at the Woodward, charming barman “English Bill” Codman is a fan of fresh cranberries for their bright, natural acidity, stunning color and tart flavor. His Hot Nantucket Night blends fresh cranberries, jalapeño, lime and tequila for a pretty pink cocktail that is the envy of every margarita. The drink is a delight and a great way to stimulate the appetite as you prepare to stuff yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing tomorrow afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! Enjoy your cranberries and enjoy your cocktails.

HOT NANTUCKET NIGHT

Created by “English Bill” Codman

7 whole cranberries, muddled

1 slice jalapeño pepper

1 oz agave simple syrup

.5 oz lime juice

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

Shake ingredients with ice, strain over fresh ice, garnish with a jalapeño.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

If you’ve ever tried a Pisco Sour, you know the delights of the frothy drink, particularly the warm glow that steals over you after several sips. If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “WTF is Pisco???” do yourself a favor and read on.

Pisco is a distilled grape spirit that hails from Peru or Chile and is made from unique regional varietals. It’s born much in the same way as cognac or brandy, but is aged in stainless steel versus wood so typically has little to no discernible color. In its pre-Prohibition heyday, Pisco Punch was all the rage in the bars of San Francisco, with some bars devoted to serving that drink and nothing else. As the story so often goes, Prohibition nearly erased both pisco and punch from American cocktail landscape.

There are four different styles of pisco: pisco aromatica, pisco puro (single varietal), pisco acholado (a blend of aromatic and non-aromatic muscat grape clones), and pisco mosto verde (made from partially fermented grape juice.) Laws are less strict in Chile but in Peru, the production of pisco is highly regulated. A competitive marketplace yields great styles.

As a category pisco emphasizes place over process, allowing flavors of the grape to shine through by using stainless steel instead of wood for aging. Peruvian pisco is typically distilled just once or twice, and laws stipulate that the spirit cannot be rectified post-distillation so it must be distilled to proof. The quality of the grape is the measure of the distiller’s skill.

One brand of which are particularly fond is Macchu Pisco, helmed by the fabulous Melanie da Trindade-Asher. Her family-owned company also produces La Diablada, an acholado made from Quebranta, Italia, and Moscatel grapes. It’s floral, smooth, and extremely aromatic and an exciting way to try your favorite pisco cocktails. Sample a Pisco Sour with both and be changed.

PISCO SOUR

1.5 oz Macchu Pisco or La Diablada

1 oz simple syrup

.75 oz fresh lemon or lime juice

1 oz egg white

Angostura bitters

Combine the pisco, simple syrup, citrus juice, and egg white in a mxing glass. Dry shake to emulsify, then add ice and shake long and hard. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish by sprinkling angostura bitters onto the egg white foam.

Cin-cin!

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, originally published in the Dig.

by Pink Lady

LUPEC is fresh off the plane from Tales of the Cocktail, an annual convention for drink geeks in New Orleans, and after five straight days of imbibing, we sure are hungover. Back in the days before Prohibition, this situation called for one thing: a sour, a fizz, or really any style of morning brace up made with an egg.

Eggs are a contentious topic in many bars, which is why we were thrilled to attend the seminar entitled “The Egg-pire Strikes Back” last week. Work (or drink) in a craft cocktail bar long enough and you will inevitably hear a guest say: “Eggs in cocktails? Isn’t that dangerous? What about salmonella?”

Eggs have a long history as a cocktail ingredient. They were originally used as a substitute for milk in drinks and began to appear in recipes like the Morning Glory Fizz and the original recipe for the Sour in the 1880s.

Egg effectively works to bind the ingredients in the drink together, giving it a smooth, velvety texture. We’ve all been raised to fear salmonella, of course, but the bacteria takes about three to five weeks to develop, so using fresh eggs should keep you in a safety zone. It also targets the sick, the elderly and infants, most of whom shouldn’t be drinking anyway. And, in general, eggs have lower danger levels than lettuce.

Now, let’s get back to that morning brace up. People drank frequently in the days before Prohibition, which could of course lead to a bit of morning malaise. Before the Bloody Mary was even a twinkle in Pete Petiot’s eye, there was the Morning Glory Fizz. There are two ways to avoid a hangover: one is to never start drinking, the other is never stop. After stirring our souls and exhausting our livers at Tales of the Cocktail, I’m sure you know which one we’d choose.

Below, you’ll find Harry Johnson’s fizz recipe, about which he wrote: “The author respectfully recommends the above drink as an excellent one for a morning beverage, which will give a good appetite and quiet the nerves.” You heard the man. Bottoms up!

MORNING GLORY FIZZ

Harry Johnson’s recipe, adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich

0.75 tbsp sugar

0.5 oz lemon juice

0.25 oz lime juice

0.5 tsp absinthe dissolved well with a little water

egg white

2 oz Scotch whisky

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake for a few seconds. Add ice and shake, then strain into a highball. Top with soda water.

CIN-CIN! LUPECBOSTON.COM

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by Pink Lady

In a week LUPEC Boston will be joining 10,000 revelers to converge on the Crescent City for five blissful days of libations, education, and cocktail preservation. As if that wasn’t enough to make our little hearts flutter, we’re thrilled to be teaming up with our LUPEC NYC brethren to host a Spirited Dinner at The Redfish Grill.

With the recent oil spill crisis in the Gulf it’s now more important than ever to support the the hospitality and seafood industries of Louisiana. We’ll be teaming up with the gals of LUPEC NYC to serve a spectacular dinner at the fantastic Redfish Grill on Bourbon Street. If you’re heading down to Tales, we hope you’ll come and join us! Check out the menu & cocktails below, which we’ll be writing about and posting recipes for in the coming weeks. Details below.

We hope to see you there!

LUPEC SPIRITED DINNER @ REDFISH GRILL

Thursday, July 22 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

115 Bourbon Street

New Orleans, LA

To reserve a spot today, call: 504.598.1200

Redfish Grill‘s Menu
Cocktails by Kirsten Amann and Lynnette Marrero

Aperitif: Anacaona Aperitif
Dubonnet Rouge
Combier L’Original
St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram
Angostura orange bitters
brut champagne or sparkling wine
orange peel, discarded

Amuse Bouche:
Crystal marinated P& J oyster
fried crisp, served with “red-eye” mayonnaise

Amuse Bouche Cocktail: Islay Alteña
El Tesoro platinum tequila
fresh lemon juice
simple syrup
Jerry Thomas Decanter bitters
Lagavulin 16
lemon oil

First Course:
Grand Isle Shrimp and Grits
our version made with Anson Mill’s grits, hickory grilled jumbo shrimp, “roof” bacon lardoons and a slow cooked poached egg

First Course Cocktail: Cerro Quemado
Zacapa rum infused with lapsang souchong
Fino sherry
date molasses
Angostura bitters
orange zest

Second Course:
Local Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Salad
lemon marinated jumbo lump crabmeat with a salad of grilled shitake mushrooms, sugar snap peas, slivered radishes and a spicy boiled peanut emulsion

Second Course Cocktail: The Girl from Ipanema/Garota de Ipanema
Leblon cachaça
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
fresh lemon juice
simple syrup
fresh ginger juice
lemon peel

Entrée:
Blackened Gulf Grouper
served with maque choux, lemon and shallot compound butter, basil infused extra virgin olive oil and garlic crisps

Entree Cocktail: Quimby Fizz
Tanqueray 10
lime juice
st germain
1 egg white
sage
top with club soda

Dessert:
Chef Toby’s individual angel food cake with Ponchatoula strawberries and a “brandy milk punch” milk shake

Dessert Cocktail: Pineapple Shooter
Zacapa rum
pineapple syrup
espresso cream (hand shaken cream with sugar cube and pinch espresso)

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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Our big fall fundraiser, the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash, is just a few weeks away, and LUPEC’s thinking Tiki! Last week we discussed the Mai Tai, that simple and delicious blend of dark rum, orgeat, lime, and curacao that was a cornerstone of the Tiki craze. Did Donn Beach invent this drink, or Trader Vic? Who knows. This week, we turn our attention to a considerably more complex concoction, the Zombie. We’re certain Donn Beach invented this one – and took the original recipe with him to the grave.

As the story goes, Donn Beach (née Ernest Beaumont-Gantt) invented the Zombie in the 1930s for an aviophobic friend taking a tipple at Don the Beachcomber’s before a flight to San Francisco…or was it a friend trying to overcome a hangover before an important business meeting? In any case, the guest had three of these high-test concoctions before (presumably) stumbling off for his flight/meeting/what have you. He returned a few days later to report: the drinks made him feel like the living dead for days thereafter. And the Zombie was born.

The Zombie became a signature cocktail at the Hurricane Bar at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City and enjoyed great popularity there. The drink went on to become a staple of Tiki joints that sprang up across the US, such as Trader Vic’s and, of course, Don the Beachcomber’s, where a 2-drink maximum policy was instituted.

Donn Beach was notoriously secretive about his cocktail recipes, creating special mixes for his bartenders that boasted numbers rather than names, keeping even the staff in the dark about his signature drinks. Imitations emerged in other Tiki joints, and Donn himself very likely noodled with the original recipe over time to accommodate new products or lack of available ingredients in certain markets. Countless recipes now exist, making it virtually impossible to pin down an original with which to craft a true artifact version for home consumption.

Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry appears to have come the closest in excavating an original recipe through interviews with former staff from Don the Beachcomber’s. Poring over personal notes kept by these waiters and bartenders from their days behind the stick, several are published in his book, Sippin’ Safari. A variation via Dale DeGroff is below.

THE ZOMBIE
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1.5 oz medium-bodied Jamaican rum
.5 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
.25 oz Velvet Falernum
.5 oz Donn’s Mix #1
1.5 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
6 drops Absinthe
Mint sprigs for garnish

Combine with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a chimney glass, topping with crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with mint.

DONN’S MIX #1

2 parts fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

1 part Cinnamon Syrup (below)

Combine the grapefruit juice with syrup and shake well. Use immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

CINNAMON SYRUP

5 cinnamon sticks, each about 2 inches long

20 oz. bottled or filtered water

1 quart sugar

Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces to create more surface area. Put the cinnamon, water, and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then bottle; keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups.

Cin-cin!


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IMG_0466*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig

by Pink Lady

Summer has finally arrived in Boston, as we all knew it would, with high temperatures and humidity to match. For those days when it feels too swampy to even move, we suggest lounging about with a Roof Garden Cooler in hand. The drink, which comes to us by way of David Wondrich’s Killer Cocktails, is a forgotten classic that once functioned as a sort of air conditioning for well-heeled guests at the rooftop garden at the tony Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

Opened in 1893 on the former site of owner William Waldorf Astor’s mansion, the grand luxury hotel once stood where the Empire State Building now resides. It was the first hotel of its kind, lavishly appointed with electricity throughout and private bathrooms en suite in most rooms, and offering “room service” for the first time in history. New York had never seen such opulence in a hotel. Four years later, cousin John Jacob Astor erected the Astoria Hotel right next door, which was something of a Waldorf 2.0, standing at 17 stories tall, and featuring the first indoor driveway in hotel history and a grand 1,500-seat ballroom.

Together, the Waldorf-Astoria (as it became known) helped transform the hotel from a way station for transient travelers into a cosmopolitan epicenter. It also helped advance the status of women, who could be admitted without the company of an escort. Louise Kehrer Boldt, the wife of founding proprietor George C. Boldt, was influential in this regard, and sought to make the hotel a popular social destination for women and an important part of the urban social landscape.

ROOF GARDEN COOLER

2 oz dry vermouth

1 oz lime juice

1/2 tsp superfine sugar

1 dash Angostura bitters

top with ginger ale

Combine in a glass, stir to dissolve sugar, add 4-5 ice cubes, top with ginger ale.

CIN-CIN!

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