On hot summer days we have to thank Cuban bartenders for creating such thirst quenching cocktails, like the Mojito and the Daiquiri. Both of these are lightly sweetened, rum based drinks that incorporate lime and sometimes other fruit flavours. The key to these drinks is that they are not sickly sweet, well at least they shouldn't be. Unfortunately the classic lime Daiquiri is very hard to find, and many times if you order just a "Daiquiri" at a bar you'll get a bright red, horribly sweet, strawberry slushy. This is because most bartenders assume that the Strawberry Daiquiri is the only Daiquiri. If you want to do a person a favour make them try a Strawberry Daiquiri based on the classic recipe.
Spirit and Cocktail Advertising Network
What do you do after almost two years of blogging about cocktails and spirits? Some people let their blogs decay into irrelevance, others continue with the status quo and others decide to move to the next level. What’s the next level you ask? Well hopefully bringing more content to the site, such as videos (which I’m really interested in doing, but only if they are done professionally), mixology research and increased posting frequency. But to achieve that, without dropping my standard of living, which would make my wife very unhappy, requires some form of income. So providing ad space for food and beverage related companies can help bring this site to the next level. If I spend anymore time on the Internet my wife could very well have me checked into an Internet Addiction Rehab Center. After the last “intervention” type incident, I promised her that my time spent on the Internet was to be for beneficial purposes only. If I can prove to her that writing this blog is part of my employment income then we’re golden.
Cocktail Ice - Part II
The post Good Ice Makes Great Cocktails seems to have resonated with readers. It also raised a number of additional questions regarding this ever so important, but often overlooked, cocktail ingredient. I’ll be answering a few questions and doing some technical talk about the properties of ice. So put your thinking caps on because we are going to learn a little bit about thermochemistry. We’ll also take a look at making clear ice.
That's the Spirit!
Summer officially started on June 21st and that means it is time to break out the refreshing cocktails. That also means I’m going to go outside today and enjoy the weather. Plus I need to work on the list of chores I was assigned by my lovely wife. While I'm doing that, there are a couple of original drink articles that I have penned for That's the Spirit! if you want something to read in the meantime. The two articles cover the Caipirinha and Iced Coffee, both good choices for a hot summer day. While you are over at That's the Spirit! check out Stephen Beaumont's beer blog. There are some great tips about summer beer do's and don'ts.
Good Ice Makes Great Cocktails
Ice can be a pretty boring topic, unless you are talking to a cocktail enthusiast, then you just need to sit back, listen, and enjoy the cocktail they served you demonstrating the potential of ice. Besides filling the glass and chilling the drink, what’s so important about ice? Well, there are a couple of things, including how the ice chills a drink and what it contributes in the way of flavour. Yes, certain ice cubes contribute flavours, and not good ones, usually malevolent ones. Other factors, such as the size of the ice cube, can also affect your drink. Isn’t this splitting hairs? Not really and I shall explain in greater detail why using good ice is a good thing.
Mixology Monday: Cream
As a bartender I've noticed that cream based cocktails are very popular, especially with the fairer sex. There must be something sinfully delicious about drinking a cocktail that has 400 calories. Add to that the almost complete absence of any alcohol "flavour", which is covered up by an impervious layer of heavy cream coating your tongue. Then add some sugar and you have a pretty good dessert. Now, cream based cocktails definitely have their place in the mixology world, but there are appropriate times and not so appropriate times.
Blanche de Chambly
The dog days of summer will soon be upon us and we’ll need plenty of refreshing drinks to take the edge off the heat. Cocktails like Mojito’s and Mint Julep’s are obvious choices, but a nice cold glass of beer isn’t a bad choice either. Now the choice of beer style is very important. You can choose a bland, pale, artificially carbonated, adjunct loaded, rice beer like Bud Lite. Blah! Or you can go with the ubiquitous Mexican Cerveza, like Corona, with its ever popular lime. Boring, and lime does not belong in beer people! Or you can choose a good weisse beer (Witbier, Biere Blanche, White Beer or Wheat Beer) like Blanche de Chambly from the Unibroue brewery in Quebec.
New Orleans and Newspapers
Over at the Cocktail Chronicles, Paul has been doing a great job of promoting Tales of the Cocktail and his (our) participation in a number of events. So it is my turn to let everyone know what is going on in New Orleans and try to encourage you to attend Tales of the Cocktail (July 18 to 22nd). Also, the London Free Press published an article about Tales of the Cocktail, The Art of Drink and all things cocktail related. So if you get a chance go check it out, it is very well written and regular readers of this site would find it interesting.
If you want to blame one particular drink for the rapid growth of vodka, in North America, look no further than the Moscow Mule. It’s true that the Vodka Martini became the most popular vodka drink initially and spurred the premium vodka category, but it was the Moscow Mule that began the introduction of North Americans to vodka. Whether vodka is the greatest spirit ever, or the bane of bartenders, that’s for you to decide, but the Moscow Mule may be the drink that trumps the Vodka Martini when it comes to flavour.
When I seek inspiration for new cocktails I’ll browse through books, website, marketing material and any other source of material to get an idea. When I found Trader Vic’s Rum Fizz I thought it was a very interesting drink, partially because it contained an ingredient you’d be hard pressed to find at any modern bar. That ingredient was Cream Soda, which you can find at most grocery stores. So, when I went looking for a bottle of cream soda, I ended up with a mixed pack of Jones Soda. Since Jones Soda makes a unique range of products, I thought I should take a look at them and see if they are valuable to the mixology world.
Bartenders Root Beer Recipe
When you work behind a bar you'll get the occasional odd request. Sometimes it for some bizarre drink, other times it for an odd ingredient and then there is the request for items that usually are not stocked in a typical bar, like root beer. Most bars have a limited supply of non-alcoholic carbonated beverages and those are typically Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Tonic Water, Club Soda or their equivalent Pepsico products. So what's a bartender to do when someone wants vodka and root beer? Well you have three options, say you don't stock that, chastise them for drinking kiddie drinks or make a Bartenders Root Beer.
Trader Vic's Rum Fizz
Most drinks classified as fizzes are pretty straight forward. They usually contain a spirit, club soda, some citrus juice and sugar. They are served in a highball glass with lots of ice and garnished with a lemon or lime wedge. They are a simple classic summer refresher. But once you introduce Trader Vic into the equation, all sorts of things can happen to a basic fizz. In this case, a Trader Vic Rum Fizz is kind of like a Ramos Gin Fizz and a Royal Fizz. But in this case Trader Vic uses rum and a splash of cream soda. Yes, cream soda, the clear sugary sweet vanilla hinted soda pop you drank as a kid, and every once in a while indulge in as an adult. So here is a way to enjoy cream soda, without felling like you are 12 years old again.
Double Chocolate Cherry Stout
Now here is a beer that sounds interesting. Enough with the million different pilsners and light beers, we need more experimental beers. We need things that will test our palates and make us go “wow, I never thought that would taste so good!”. I am the type of person that will seek out interesting spirits and beers just to see what they taste like. I rarely ever have the same beer in my fridge from week to week. Life is too short to drink one brand of beer, only rum and coke and eat your steak the same way every time. So, I’m lucky that I live about 90 minutes from Toronto, North America’s fourth largest city, because there are a number of great micro brewers, including Black Oak, making some interesting beers. Double Chocolate Cherry Stout is one of them.