I, Scientist McGee, am formally declaring myself ready for spring time!
It’s been well over a month since my last post, and I have no real good reason for the delay at all. The true reason for the dry spell has been a total lack of inspiration on my part. I think I’ve been totally uninspired to try new drinks, because of the limbo between winter and spring that I found myself stuck in. I had grown tired of warm winter drinks, but wasn’t quite ready yet to mix up cool summertime favorites.
Well, it’s warm out there, and beautiful too! And I’m ready to drink spring and summertime fancy drinks! So in today’s blog, I’m putting winter to rest, and providing a “sneak peek” at some of the new lighter ingredients that should be gracing the SMcG blog in the next several months!
Let’s close out winter, shall we? And then I’ll show you the fun assortment of ingredients I splurged on this weekend, and am very excited to try!
Closing out the winter months, I’ve got two good ones for you…
“Breast Pocket Cocktail”
My favorite of the two is my favorite because it’s one I dreamed up. I call it the “Breast Pocket Cocktail” because it could very well be concocted at a beer drinkin’ party with a secret flask of rye in one’s breast pocket of their jacket. It’s a beer cocktail featuring the pride and joy of St. Louis, Schlafly beer (http://www.schlafly.com/), specifically Schlafly’s Dry Hopped APA (American Pale Ale). I love Schlafly’s Dry Hopped APA, and as I was drinking it recently, I thought that it would go great with some rye whiskey added to it. The beer itself is very hoppy and aromatic, and I thought it would mix nicely with the spiciness of rye (my favorite type of whiskey). After a few tries, I figured out a good balance where the APA contributes flavors to the drink without overshadowing the other ingredient. The hops of the APA go really well with the spice of the rye, and the orange bitters and lemon add a refreshing citrus zip. I’m not one to make up my own drinks. I think this is technically only my second? The way I see it is that there are thousands of amazing drinks that have already been made up, that I’m sure I’ll never even have time to try. I enjoy drinking my way through these, so why would I feel the need to focus on making up my own drinks as an at-home bartender? Unless inspiration strikes me, and I’m craving something that probably does not exist – like a cocktail featuring a hometown beer. I have to say, I’m quite proud of this delicious drink!
2 oz. rye whiskey
3 oz. Schlafly Dry Hopped APA
2 dashes of orange bitters
Build over ice, in a rocks glass, then stir gently, and garnish with a lemon peel.
“Left Hand Cocktail”
This cocktail’s one I made last night using one of my new ingredients, Aztec Chocolate Bitters (Fee Brothers). This drink comes from “The PDT Cocktail Book”, and actually calls for Bittermens’ brand of “Xocolatl Mole Bitters”. The only snag was that the Bittermens bitters cost $20 for a 4 ounce bottle, and I did not want to spend that much money on a bitters. So instead I bought the Fee Brothers, which ran me $6.50 for the same size bottle. I’d never tried either of these chocolate bitters, so I was a little worried that they’d taste dramatically different, and perhaps they do… I won’t know until I get a taste of the Bittermens. I have a feeling though that they’re similar enough to warrant saving the $14. Both are based on Mexican ingredients, featuring chocolate, peppers and spices. Some reviews I was able to find online described the Bittermens as more complex in its flavors and the Fee Brothers as having the chocolate flavor more prominent. Maybe this is true, however I found that I really liked the Fee Brothers bitters because of its spiciness. Maybe they’re more chocolaty than the Bittermens, but they’re also definitely not just chocolate… they’ve got some peppery spice and kick to go along with it! (I’m sure the Bittermens are in fact better and more complex, because the Bittermens are 53% alcohol, whereas the Fee Brothers are a water-based bitters, but the $14 I saved bought me 4 used jazz records and a stock of plastic LP sleeves on the way home, so I think I definitely won!)
This drink wound up being a very unique and tasty one. It was a dark, somewhat sweet drink, with a relatively bitter taste (with the Campari). It also had a nice freshness added though, by the peppers in the bitters, and just a faint smoky chocolate flavor underneath. It was definitely a very complex tasting drink, that I was glad I had tried.
1.5 oz. bourbon
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Campari
2 dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters (or Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, as called for in its original recipe)
Stir well with ice, and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.
Add 3 cherries on a pick as a garnish.
(“The PDT Cocktail Book”)
And now, without further ado… I declare winter officially over for me! On to my new springtime splurge!
This weekend, I splurged and bought more than I am usually able to buy at once. I had to do this though to gear up for spring and summer! As I explained earlier… I haven’t been inspired to try any new drinks.
But now I am!
Several of these ingredients I’ve been wanting to buy and try for quite some time. They are the Aperol and the anejo tequila, as well as the chocolate and rhubarb bitters. Aperol is an Italian bitter aperitif much like Campari (in fact it is now owned by the Campari company), but I’ve heard that it’s perhaps a bit sweeter and bit less intense and less bitter? (Not sure, but I’ll know soon enough.) Anejo tequila is tequila that’s been aged for at least a year, but no more than 3 years, in oak barrels. The oak barrels tend to be old ones that were previously used for whiskeys and Bourbons north of the border, adding more of a complex flavor than other tequilas.
The Luxardo maraschino liqueur is one I’ve enjoyed many times before and just needed to make sure to have plenty in stock for the spring and summer months ahead. As I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog, I love maraschino liqueur! I’d go so far as to say that I can’t live without it. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ahem.
The orchard pear liqueur is made by Rothman & Winter, the same company that makes the creme de violette I have on hand to make my Aviations. This was bought on kind of a whim because I’ve just recently begun liking pears this year. Plus I spotted a recipe in the PDT book that looked really good (the “Statesman” with gin, orchard pear, green Chartreuse and orange bitters… mmmm…)
So let Spring begin! I’ll be gladly sharing some new drinks, featuring these new ingredients that have been added to my bar, in the upcoming season. Cheers, and Go Cards!