post

Cocktail: Worthy Park Swizzle

The only way to come back to the blogosphere is through a swizzle! So, let’s keep this short and sweet. I went to London in December (to study, actually) and while there, I had a few things on my mind. One of them being: “how much booze can I actually bring back?” I’ve done this before…when passing through Duty Free at the airport but, this time, I ventured out into the city on a hunt. Of course, the highly coveted Havana Club was a no-brainer. I keep an on-going “booze wish list” if you will and I was looking forward to crossing off a few items that I knew I wouldn’t find in the States. Well, I managed two of those (we can talk about that later). I’m not sure why I felt nervous to bring home the good this time. I was scouring the internet, trying to be extra careful because you know they’re going through your bags, right? The internet told me I could being home 1 Liter which is not even 2 whole bottles. Seriously.

On New Years Eve, my cousin and I made our way to the American Bar at the beautiful Savoy Hotel. While walking, we passed the Whiskey Exchange. By far, the very best store for booze shopping ever! Well, at least so far for me. Another favorite store of mine is in New Orleans, Keife &Co. The next day we headed back to The Whiskey Exchange, and there is where I got the best info on booze traveling. I spoke with about 3 associates at the store. One guy (who I spoke with the longest) tried to google Heathrow Airport policies and we even discussed ABV. And, it was all for nothing because the next guy (I obviously don’t remember their names, sorry) said I could bring back a suitcase full of booze!!!!!!!! That was enough for me! I did my shopping and made my way back to our room to configure the bags. I did at least bring my own bubble wrap. While my cousins bag was about 20 pounds overweight (LOL!!!!) I squeezed in 5 bottles. I’d done most of my booze (Rum) shopping by then but there was still one bottle on my mind. It was at the grocery store right around the corner from me, The Duppy Share. I had no idea if it was sold in the states, I didn’t know anything about it and it was a great price. But, alas, I didn’t bring it home. I thought maybe it would be a last minute decision at the airport in Duty Free but it wasn’t there so I was forced to buy 3 other rums.

When I got home I did some research on the Duppy Share and found that it’s a blend of Jamaican Rums from Worthy Park and Barbados Rums. The next logical step is a cocktail. I thought about the blend first and foremost. I went back and forth with the two Rums that I would use for my own blend in the swizzle. The other ingredients came easily. A well know Jamaican Rum comes from the Appleton Estate, I went with the Reserve Blend. For the Barbados Rum, there are a few options. Mount Gay Black Barrel would be marvelous here and is in fact one of my favorite Rums…ever. Plantation also produces a fine 5 year aged Barbados Rum. But, I wanted to bring something new to the Home Bar so I ventured out for Cockspur V.S.O.R. All of the elements came together in perfect harmony. Let’s get to the cocktail.

Worthy Park Swizzle:

1oz. Appleton Reserve Jamaican Rum

1oz. Cockspur V.S.O.R Barbados Rum

1oz. Lime Juice

3/4oz. Passion Fruit Syrup (Liber & Co.)

1/2oz. Licor 43 (or other vanilla liqueur)

1 Heavy Barspoon Campari

1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters

1 Dash Orange Bitters (Regan’s used here)

Fill a Highball or Pilsner glass with crushed ice. Add all ingredients and swizzle until chilled. Top with more ice and garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig or edible flowers if you have them. Feel free to use any blend of Rum you like. Cheers!

 

post

Spirit Review: Gaur Spice Whiskey and Cavalry Bourbon

Now that winter is finally here, I can enjoy some good whiskey. Don’t fret my friends, eggnog/milk punch season isn’t over. Gaur Spice Original Infusion whiskey took my milk punch up 5000%! Gaur Spiced Whiskey can compete with any good spiced Rum, a great alternative for whiskey lover who want more flavor and aren’t in to Rum. When I first opened the bottle of of Gaur Spice, I had an epiphany. “Milk Punch” were the first two words I heard when the strong aroma of nutmeg and other warm spices filled my nose. I said to myself “oh my”. My nose has never smelled a whiskey like this, maybe not even a spiced Rum!

DSC_1072

Gaur Spice is definitely a unique blend. Blend No.1 has the exotic spice notes of Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove and Ginger. The nutmeg is heavy on the front of the nose and it’s beautiful. The flavors in this whiskey contain all of the holiday warming spices with a fiery ginger finish. The cocktail is a no brainer.

DSC_1067

Gaur Milk Punch:

2oz. Gaur Spice Whiskey

2oz. Cream or Milk

1oz. Vanilla Syrup

2 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters

*Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Brandy Snifter or Double Rocks glass over cracked ice (or no ice). Garnish with fresh nutmeg.

DSC_1066

Up next is Cavalry Bourbon Whiskey.  Cavalry utilizes the TerraPURE process after distillation. This process takes the sometimes harsh bite that Bourbon can have through ultrasonic energy and oxygenation. Don’t get caught up on the science, Cavalry has a smooth texture and mouth feel.

DSC_1074

DSC_1077

Cavalry’s Mash Bill consists of 71% Corn, 21% Rye and 4% Barley Malt. Even though this Bourbon is fairly low in Rye, you still get some good spice notes. The high quality ingredients are sourced from Indiana. The Bourbon is shipped to South Carolina for proofing. The Bourbon is brought down to 90% with distilled water providing the potent but smooth taste.

Cavalry is a young whiskey but has the depth, flavor and complexity of a longer aged whiskey. Perfect for mixing in cocktails and sipping.

Cavalry Cider:

2oz. Cavalry Bourbon Whiskey

2oz. Unfiltered Honey Crisp Apple Cider

3/4oz. Smoked Maple Syrup (Or other Grade B Maple Syrup)

3/4oz. Lemon Juice

2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters (Such as Hella Bitters)

*Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Fresh grated cinnamon optional.

DSC_1082

Cheers Whiskey lovers!

 

 

post

St. Bermuda

I’ve been so inspired lately by all of the great tiki cocktails floating around Instagram and cocktail blogs. Especially Home Bar Girl’s #TikiTheSnowAway movement. Tiki cocktails can be very involved. Sometimes having up to 15 ingredients! The rise of tiki culture come around after the post-prohibition era. You are probably familiar with Don the Beachcomber or the Mai Tai cocktail. There’s a great tiki read here and here. Rum and tiki go hand in hand, obviously. But, other spirits like Gin and Brandy find their place in some classic tiki cocktails as well. And, then there’s Blue Curacao. We’ll get to that in the next few posts for Mixology Monday’s “Blue” theme. It just screams tiki! Pain Killers, Pina Coladas, you kind of can’t go wrong with tiki.

For this original tiki cocktail, we’re going back to the Chinese Five Spice infused Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. A Bermudian rum. The rum brings this cocktail into tiki territory without using 10-15 ingredients.

DSC_4639

I like to pair vanilla flavors with five spice. I think the flavors work fabulously together. So, for this cocktail, our sweetener is a Vanilla-Ginger syrup. It’s really easy to make.

For Vanilla-Ginger Syrup:

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

1 Vanilla Bean [Split]

~1/4 Cup fresh sliced Ginger

*Bring all contents to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes. Let mix cool, leaving sliced ginger and vanilla bean in syrup. After cooling, remove ginger and bottle. I like to leave the vanilla bean in the syrup.

DSC_4631

This cocktail is perfect for winter sipping. You get the warming notes from the five spice and tropical notes from the pineapple and angostura bitters. And, you can pretend your on a warm caribbean island with sand, sun and all of the tropical goodness you deserve.

St. Bermuda:

2 1/2oz. Five Spice Infused Goslings Black Seal Rum

1 1/2oz. Vanilla Ginger Syrup

1oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice

1oz. Fresh Lime Juice

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

*Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into large snifter or highball glass over fresh ice. Garnish with lime wheel. Cheers!

DSC_4633

DSC_4637

 

post

Chinese Five Spice Dark ‘N’ Stormy

The chinese five spice Dark ‘N’ Stormy comes from Jeffrey Morgenthaler and this video.  If you don’t know, Jeffrey Morgenthaler is one of the best barmen in the country and an author. He’s kind of an authority on all things booze. One of his many cocktails is the chinese five spice Dark ‘N’ Stormy. I’m putting my spin on it here with the addition of vanilla bitters. This Bermudian cocktail comes with strict laws. Laws, for a cocktail? Apparently. By law, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy MUST be made with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Otherwise, you’re not having a Dark ‘N’ Stormy. I guess since we’re infusing the Gosling’s with chinese five spice, we’re breaking the law. It’s so worth it.

If you’ve never had five spice, here’s what you can expect. Flavors of  Star Anise, Cloves, Chinese Cinnamon, Szechuan Pepper and Fennel. There are some variations to the spice recipe but these are the stand out flavors. Especially the Star Anise. It may be an acquired taste for some but it’s perfect around the holidays. Really warm flavors in this Dark ‘N’ Stormy. The infusion is pretty quick. From 30 minutes to overnight. The five spice is strong stuff.

DSC_4158

DSC_4159

For the infusion, add 1 Teaspoon of your five spice powder directly to the 750ml bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Give it a shake and let sit for 30 minutes up to overnight.

DSC_4170

You’ll want to strain the infusion through a coffee filter to catch all of the five spice particles that cheesecloth can’t. A Chemex works great if you have one.

After strained and rebottled, you’re ready to imbibe!

DSC_4328

DSC_4329

DSC_4332

Dark ‘N’ Stormy:

2oz. Chinese Five Spice Infused Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

Vanilla Bitters

Ginger Beer

*In your rocks or highball glass, add 2 dashes of vanilla bitters (optional), the juice of 1 lime wedge and fill about half way with Ginger Beer. Fill with ice and stir lightly to combine bitters, soda and lime. Top with 2oz. of the infused Rum. Drop in your lime wedge and enjoy. Cheers!

DSC_4336

DSC_4337

 

post

Make At Home: Vanilla Bitters

The most wonderful seasons are upon us. Fall and winter (on the way). We should be prepared for all of the nice warm bourbon (and tequila) cocktails we’ll be sipping. I LOVE vanilla and I want to put it in everything. So why not bitters? Bitters are fairly easy  to make. You may have to search out a few roots (the bittering agent) but, they’re always at your local organic/health/vitamin shop. Let’s get in to it.

DSC_4143

DSC_4144

Vanilla Bitters:

4 Vanilla Beans (split and beans removed)

2 Cardamom Pods (cracked)

1 1/2 Tablespoon Burdock Root

1/4 Teaspoon Black Peppercorn

1 Teaspoon Cocoa Nibs

1 1/3 Cup Grain Alcohol (such as Everclear)

1/2 Tablespoon Molasses

Add all ingredients to a jar (minus Molasses). Be sure to include scraped beans and pods in the mix. Cover with alcohol and let site for 2 weeks, shaking once daily. After 2 weeks, strain mix through coffee filter and stir in molasses. Bottle and enjoy. (A bottle/container with a dasher or dropper works well.)

unnamed

Try vanilla bitters in your next old fashioned, cheers!

 

post

Spirit Review: Hush Spiced Apple Moonshine

Psssst! There’s a secret I want you to tell. The secret is moonshine. Spiced Apple moonshine! I know what you may be thinking. Rubbing alcohol or maybe even lighting things on fire. This isn’t the white lightning from papa up in Appalachian. Hush Spiced Apple Moonshine is smooth. As soon as you pull the cork from the bottle, the bright aroma of crisp fall apples fills your nose. We all know the history of moonshine and it’s significance to American boozing. Hush is here to make their mark and change your mind on moonshine. Don’t think “burn” anymore. Think about sipping a fresh fall apple on the rocks. The distillers at Hush use a “secret” process to create the smoothest moonshine possible. The first thing that I enjoyed before tasting was the color. We’ve done plenty of infusions here on FoodieTails and one noticeable change that occurs throughout the time of infusion is the color. This is one reason why I tend to stray away from that wall of “infused” spirits at the liquor store. Apple is the most prominent flavor on the palate with warming spice and the bite of the moonshine on the finish. Hush is definitely one of the smoothest moonshine on the market. With Country Maple flavor, Original Style, Wicked Cinnamon and Spiced Apple, Hush has your holidays covered. Southern Lemonade and Georgia Peach will be rolling out soon. Get your mason jars ready!

DSC_4173

Hush was crafted for cocktails as well as sipping on the rocks. And, there are plenty of spiced apple cocktails to be had this time of year.

Hush Spiced Apple Moonshine Sour:

2oz. Hush Spiced Apple Moonshine

1/2oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2oz. Bourbon Infused Honey [Or Regular Local Honey or Honey Syrup]

*Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until chilled, strain and serve up. Garnish with lemon twist.

 

DSC_4175

Hush Spiced Apple-Vanilla Old Fashioned:

2oz. Hush Spiced Apple Moonshine

1/2oz. Licor 43

2 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters [Or your favorite Bitters]

*Add all ingredients to mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with apple wheel. Cheers!

DSC_4179

 

post

Blueberry-Vanilla Caipiroska

Not to be confused with the caipirinha, the caipiroska is made with vodka. You’ve probably had a caipirinha. The national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha is made with cachaca. Not to be confused with rum, cachaca is made from pure sugar cane where rum is made from molasses. Confused? Is the caipiroska the American version of the caipirinha because is’t made with vodka? Or is it Russian? This one is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka so we’ll call it the American version. All this cocktail is is vodka lime and sugar. The first time I made this particular version of the cocktail, I used vanilla sugar. Because, like the caipirinha, the caipiroska is made by muddling granulated sugar with lime quarters. We all know that granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold liquids (superfine sugar helps some). I wanted to stick to tradition but it didn’t turn out so well. Second time around, I broke down and made a vanilla syrup. Not traditional but hey, I still muddled the limes. That still counts for something, right?

DSC_3873

DSC_3867

This was the first trial with the vanilla sugar. I made some after making a vanilla syrup for the vanilla lemonade post. You can find some at you local spice shop or make your own. Just stick a vanilla bean in some sugar. If you plan to muddle this cocktail with granulated sugar, I recommend using 1 tablespoon per half a lime.

DSC_3868

DSC_3869

Blueberry-Vanilla Caipiroska:

Half of  a Lime [Cut into quarters as shown above]

4-5 Blueberries

1oz. Vanilla Syrup

2 1/2oz. Vodka [Tito’s used here]

*Muddle lime, syrup (or sugar) and blueberries in your shaker. Add vodka and fill shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and empty all contents of the shaker into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint and/or lime wedge. Best enjoyed outdoors with friends, cheers!

DSC_3876,

post

Cherry-Vanilla Bourbon

Went to a family wedding a few weeks ago in Detroit. One of the little goodies in our bag was dried cherries. Apparently, local to Michigan. Does it say “something” about a person who sees produce and thinks cocktail? No. It just means your creative and always searching for something new. Of course, making Cherry Bounce is no revelation. But, I knew I had a vanilla bean at home waiting to be used. Cherry, vanilla, bourbon, it was a no brainer. The first batch turned out AMAZING. After one sip, I was ready to make another [larger] batch. I’m getting the feeling (while sipping this old fashioned) that this will be one of my go-to summer infusions. Simple and delicious. When using dried fruit in infusions, you’re going to get a sweeter product. The dried fruit is concentrated and gives off more flavor faster than fresh fruit. It’s all about your preference. I liked they way the infusion turned out with the dried cherries. They took on some of the bourbon and plumped up a little. For this infusion, I will not be discarding the cherries and vanilla bean. We will be making boozy cherry vanilla ICE CREAM!!!!! I couldn’t throw out a vanilla bean that’s been sitting in bourbon. Would you? We’ve already got vanilla sugar, ice cream is the next logical step. After straining, wrap up the bourbon cherries and throw them in the freezer. Wrap the vanilla bean in foil and store in a plastic baggie.DSC_3357 DSC_3358 DSC_3360 DSC_3362

Another thing that I like about this infusion is that in late summer, it can take you into fall weather. Cherry-Vanilla Bourbon: 1 Cup Dried Cherries 1 Vanilla Bean 375ml Bourbon [Wild Turkey 101 used here] Add all ingredients to a container with a lid, like a jar. Let sit for 2-3 weeks swirling a few times a week. Strain and bottle. (Refill the bourbon bottle). Can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in an old fashioned.   DSC_3623 DSC_3625 DSC_3628 DSC_3630 DSC_3631 DSC_3632

Cherry-Vanilla Old Fashioned:

2oz. Cherry-Vanilla Bourbon

1 Sugar Cube or 1/4oz. Simple Syrup

2 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters [Optional]

2 Dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters [Optional]

*Angostura Bitters will work here.

Add sugar to mixing glass or tumbler. Dissolve [sugar cube] with bitters and 1oz. of the bourbon. Stir. Add ice and remaining 1oz. of bourbon. Stir until chilled. Strain over 1 block of ice, or stir in tumbler glass until chilled. Garnish with brandied or fresh cherry. Cheers! DSC_3639

DSC_3643

post

Mixed Berry Crumble Crust…Pie

One of the easier pies to add to your repertoire. And, the perfect vehicle to display in-season berries. I and my mom have been making this pie forever. It’s one of those super easy “no-bake” pies. We usually use one of the store bought graham cracker crust pie shells, I made a couple of changes. Let’s get right to it.

For the crust:

1 Package of Shortbread Cookies [Or about 16 or so cookies, Milano used here]

4 Tbspns Butter [Salted]

Start by crushing the shortbread cookies. I used a plastic bag and a rolling pin. Melt the butter, let cool and add to the crushed cookies. Press the mixture into your pie dish (9inch). Place the crust in the freezer to chill while mixing filling.

DSC_3112

 

DSC_3113

For filling:

1/2 Pint Whipping Cream

1 Package of Cream Cheese

1 Tbspn Lemon Juice

2/4 Cup White Chocolate [For melting]

1/4-1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tspn Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt

Start by whipping the heavy cream until slightly stiff. Should form some peaks. Your cream cheese should be at room temperature before mixing. Melt the white chocolate (I used morsels and zapped them in the microwave with a little cream). Add package of cream cheese and powdered sugar to mixer. Mix until smooth. Add melted (and cooled) white chocolate to cream cheese mixture and mix until incorporated. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Sweetness can be adjusted to your taste. Add filling to shortbread crust and refrigerate for 45 minutes. At this time you can slice your berries. Here I used strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. I left the raspberries whole and sliced the strawberries and blackberries in half. Depending on sweetness of your berries, you may want to add sugar. The sweetness of the filling should be enough. After filling has chilled, top with your sliced berries. The pie can be served immediately or chilled over night. I recommend overnight, the berries will release their flavors. Bon appetite!

DSC_3137

DSC_3133

post

Vanilla Lemonade

I’m not sure why I’ve never made lemonade with vanilla before. It’s just wonderful. It’s perfect for spring weather, tart and sweet with notes of vanilla. The idea for the vanilla lemonade came about when I was thinking about a “booze on a budget” cocktail that I wanted to make with vanilla coke. Something really easy and only two or three ingredients. The vanilla lemonade falls into that category. It’s easy to make a big batch and works well with whiskey or on it’s own. As a part of my “Sunday Sips” series (that I just started) on Instagram  I featured the vanilla lemonade with Wild Turkey Spiced whiskey. The spiced notes in the whiskey worked well with the vanilla in the lemonade. Spiced flavors aren’t just for the holidays or fall weather. I like to play around with spiced flavors (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg…) “out of season”.

DSC_2899

The easiest way to get vanilla (or any other flavor) into the lemonade is to make a flavored syrup. For this application, vanilla extract won’t work because no part of the lemonade will be warmed or heated. Some lemonade recipes call for hot water to dissolve the sugar. The syrup is easily incorporated into the mixture. You can find vanilla beans at your local spice shop, health food grocery store or a fine foods store.

DSC_2901

Split one vanilla bean and add it to your sugar in the pot.

DSC_2904

While the syrup is simmering, it’s time to juice those lemons! Of course you already know fresh citrus juice is the only way to go, right?

DSC_2905DSC_2906

I picked up a bag of baby lemons from the store and they yielded about one cup of juice.

DSC_2913

After removing the vanilla bean from the syrup, set it out to dry on a napkin then add it to sugar for vanilla infused sugar.

DSC_2914

Nothing goes to waste! You can even cut the juiced lemons into small pieces to put in your garbage disposal for a fresh clean smell.

This drink is required to be sipped outdoors, in a mason jar, with fresh lemon wheels…if you can.

For Vanilla Syrup:

1 Vanilla Bean [Split not scraped]

1 Cup of Sugar [White Granulated]

1 Cup of Water

Bring the sugar, water and vanilla to a simmer to dissolve sugar. At this point, I like to remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool with the vanilla bean for about 35-40 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean from the syrup after cooling. Let the bean dry for vanilla sugar.

For Vanilla Lemonade:

1 Cup fresh Lemon juice

1 1/4 Cup Vanilla Syrup

2-3 Cups Water

Add all ingredients to a pitcher (or whatever you will use to mix and serve) and give the mixture a swirl. The vanilla syrup and water can be adjusted to taste.

For Spring’s Eve cocktail:

2oz. Bourbon

Top with Vanilla Lemonade

DSC_2922

DSC_2924

DSC_2925

DSC_2926

DSC_2929

DSC_2933