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Posts Tagged ‘vodka’

We’ve been on a breakfast kick of late at my house- pain perdu with strawberry cream cheese, blueberry cornmeal pancakes, coconut lime bread – and naturally need cocktails to go along. While Bloody Marys (liquid salsa in my opinion) and Mimosas (just give me Champagne, please) are fine for some, I prefer drinks such as the Ramos Gin Fizz (RGF), the Brandy Milk Punch (BMP), or Red Rooster Punch. Living in New Orleans, we have plenty of access to and variety of drinks and morning is no exception. It was an adjustment for both my husband and me to get comfortable with the general acceptability here of “drinking before noon.”

Chris McMillian, currently at Bar Uncommon, makes a excellent Ramos Gin Fizz and can teach you about the history of the drink and its creator Henry Ramos as well. The RGF is not relegated to just the a.m. hours, but is particularly well suited for easing into the morning or for those recovering from the effects of the previous evening. Chris actually made me my first RGF the first time I visited him at his bar. I had just read about how Huey P. Long would speak about this great drink during his travels and even went so far to bring along his own bartender so he could have a correctly made RGF. It’s silky, creamy, and zippy. The gin is stealthily hidden, so if you consume too many you might end up needing a hangover cure for your hangover cure. You will definitely need the energy or a second person in reserve to shake this drink for a long time, but the effort is well worth it. Watch this video of Chris making the RGF from his days at the Ritz Carlton and then try it out for yourself. We prefer a modified version of the recipe from The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft by Gary Regan:

    Ramos_Gin_FizzRamos Gin Fizz, makes 2 cocktails

    2 oz gin
    1 oz cream
    1 raw egg white
    ½ oz simple syrup
    ½ oz fresh lime juice
    ½ oz fresh lemon juice
    ¼ oz orange-flower water
    couple of drops of pure vanilla extract

    Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled, highball glass without ice. You will need to shake for well over a minute to get the correct texture.

My other drink that I have fallen in love is the Brandy Milk Punch. I had it for the first time visiting Commander’s Palace where we had Easter brunch. It’s simple to make, requires few ingredients compared to the RGF, and can be batched in large quantities if you’re having a large party or heading off to the parades. Chris McMillian has a video on this as well. While the video presents different proportions, I prefer the Commander’s version of the BMP as printed within the In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks:

    Brandy Milk Punch

    2 oz brandy
    1 oz simple syrup
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1½ oz milk
    Freshly grated nutmeg

    Combine ingredients except for nutmeg in shaker, add ice, shake vigorously, and strain into rocks glass with ice. Grate a light dusting of the nutmeg on top.

Lastly, my mom unwittingly established a Thanksgiving day tradition for me by making a Red Rooster Punch many years ago. I believe she had seen it on one of Emeril Lagasse’s shows on the Food Network. The flavors represent fall and it can easily be batched up and enjoyed by a group with breakfast or throughout the morning and afternoon as the big meal is being prepared. I’ve changed it up over the years by freezing the vodka and really chilling the cranberry juice to serve it as a liquid drink with a minimal amount of “ice” crystals. Flavored vodkas (such as citrus, spice, pear, etc.) would also work well with this.
Red_Rooster

    Red Rooster Punch, makes about 8 cocktails

    1½ quarts cranberry juice, very chilled
    One 6 oz can frozen orange juice
    2 cups vodka, pulled straight from the freezer
    Cranberries and/or orange slice to garnish, optional

    Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, garnish with fruit, and serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in the freezer.

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German ChamomileSpring delivered me a sweet nosegay of chamomile from my garden, and offered me a great opportunity to experiment with floral cocktails. I love a soothing cup of chamomile tea and the scent brings back memories of summers in Germany where my aunt and uncle would have a huge(!) cup of tea each evening after dinner. Unfortunately, in the land of cocktails there are few offerings utilizing the lovely “mayweed.”

Square One Vodka has the Goodnight Ginger, created by founder Allison Evanow, which actually uses a chamomile myrtle tea to infuse the vodka:

    Goodnight Ginger
    2 oz Square One Organic Vodka infused with Numi Organic Chamomile Lemon Myrtle Teasan
    2 oz fresh lemon juice
    1/8 tsp fresh grated ginger
    1 oz organic agave nectar
    Splash of Vya Extra-Dry Vermouth

    Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
    Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Additionally, I came across a blog by Kelly Hightower who posted a recipe for a chamomile-infused rum punch:

    Flor de Caña Flip Flop Punch
    2 ozs Chamomile infused Flor De Caña 4-year old Rum
    4 sugar cubes
    3 oz club soda
    1 oz lemon juice
    1½ oz grapefruit juice

    Dissolve 4 sugar cubes in 1 oz of club soda (this generally involves muddling to help process). After sugar cubes are muddled/dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients except for the club soda one at a time and stir as added. Add ice once all of the ingredients have been added and stirred. Stir the punch until it is chilled. Top with remaining (2 oz) club soda and garnish with grapefruit slices.

Jamie Boudreau, who seemingly has a cocktail aligning with all my random musings, has a wonderful scotch-based sour:

    Chamomile Sour
    2 oz chamomile scotch
    ¾ oz lemon juice
    ½ oz simple syrup
    1 small egg white

    Place all ingredients in shaker and froth with cappuccino blade. Add ice and shake hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

According to Kelly, she made the chamomile-infused rum by adding 4 bar spoons of loose chamomile tea to 1 bottle of rum, letting it sit for an hour and 45 minutes, straining out the tea, and funneling the infused rum back into the bottle for storage.

Jamie’s instructions to make the chamomile scotch are: place half of an ounce of dried chamomile flowers into a jar with a bottle of scotch (e.g. Famous Grouse), let sit for 20 minutes, and then filter the chamomile from the scotch.

I actually tired two experiments with my fresh-picked chamomile: vodka (Absolut 100) and rum (Flor de Caña Gold 4 y.o. ). For each I used approximately two dozen flowers where most of the stems and petals had been removed. I placed these in my canning jars with 4 ounces of spirit. I let each infuse for a week in my refrigerator; agitating daily. I strained the infusions through coffee filters and bottled.

Spring-boarding from the flavors represented in both the Goodnight Ginger and the Flip Flop Punch, I tried making a cocktail using the chamomile-infused rum, Domaine de Canton, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and bitters. However, the chamomile was too strong and I couldn’t find a combination that was enjoyable. If I were to do rum again, I wouldn’t let the flowers steep so long.

However, the chamomile vodka turned out wonderful – really like a pure, fresh tea. In the spirit of celebrating the flavors of Spring in the South, I combined fresh Texas peaches with the vodka to create:

Peach PoseyPeach Posey

1 small peach
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1½ oz chamomile-infused vodka
½ oz lemon juice
3 dashes Peychaud bitters

Slice the peach (reserving one slice for garnish) and muddle with sugar adjusting the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the peach. Add vodka, lemon juice, bitters, and ice; shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the reserved peach slice.

Here’s to Spring’s bounty!

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