The Hamilton and The Burr

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Occasionally, I will have guest posts here on the blog, from interested friends and compatriots who like to drink, and like to read the news. In this case, the following two drinks come from someone who is much better at following current events and politics than I, whether they’re current or, well, 200+ years ago. I submit for your approval, the Hamilton and the Burr. Apart from my own tasting notes at the end, this is from the great Manny Antunes, who has just graduated from law school! Congratulations!

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21. Roman Punch

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I’ll start this entry out by saying this is one of the top three Jerry Thomas concoctions I’ve made so far. And the thing all of those (this, 2. Brandy Punch, and 12. Champagne Punch) have in common? The raspberry syrup. So, apparently that’s just the best.

In the Phillippines, they just elected their first transgender politician, Geraldine Roman. As there are no openly LGBT politicians in the nation until now, this is a big step forward! Not much else to report, other than a lot of news about the new Uncharted video game which I guess has a character named Roman.

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21. Roman Punch

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 table-spoonful of sugar.
  • 1 table-spoonful of raspberry syrup [Recipe here.]
  • 1 tea-spoonful of Curaçoa.
  • 2 oz. Jamaica rum. [We decided this meant dark rum.]
  • 1 oz. brandy.
  • The juice of half a lemon.
  • Fill with shaved ice, shake well, dash with port wine, and ornament with fruits in season. Imbibe through a straw.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I loved this. Another easy to make recipe (just throw everything together), and so delicious. The spiced rum and raspberry mixed really nicely, and the curaçao merged in to add a bit more fruitiness. I actually could have used a little more of that, and will do so next time (a teaspoon is a really small amount). It was easy to drink and had a lot of depth of flavor. Definitely use the straw, too, as you get a better mix of flavors from the bottom than the top, and you don’t have to deal with the shaved ice. Also, I put in a little too much (way more than a dash) of port accidentally, and the straw helped with that.

PiC: I really liked this. It almost has a medicinal taste, but not in a bad way, and it doesn’t quite get there. It’s sweet but not too sweet, and of course it’s very pretty. I imagine you could make this in a big batch for a party and it would be perfect.

22. Milk Punch

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Knocked out two in a row for this weekend. Why two? Well, because one is exactly the same as the other one, just differs in temperature. The hot version of this is over here. For now, the chilly one.

In the news world, not much to report. Louisiana apparently barred (or rather, chose to not allow) the sale of raw milk, due to health risks. Needless to say, I did not use raw milk for this. Sorry for the lame news (two in a row). It was either this or a story about donated breast milk, which is probably more interesting, but slightly less appetizing.

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88. Mint Julep

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In case you hadn’t noticed (since the first recipe was #125), I am indeed skipping around a bit. This is partially due to the availability of ingredients, and partially because I don’t necessarily want to be making punch after punch after punch, and then julep after julep after julep. What is an effective categorization method in a book is not the most fun in the kitchen.

So for this one I wanted something I had heard of before. Was this first version a classic Mint Julep? Short answer: no. It’s pretty different, except for shaved ice and mint, but is a really nice drink on its own. Score another one for Jerry Thomas.

In other news, the U.S. Mint recently announced the national parks that will be on this year’s America the Beautiful (read: fancy) quarters: Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) in South Carolina. The first will be on shelves (in wallets? What do you say?) on February 8th. Riveting news, I know.

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88. Mint Julep

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar. [Powdered sugar.]
  • 2½ do. water, mix well with a spoon. [do. is “Ditto” in ye olden days.]
  • Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine-glass [3 oz.] of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, [I took this to mean dark rum] and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, [I didn’t have a straw, but we’re getting some! By “in the cut” he means the image on that first Jerry Thomas post, which appears to just be in the drink. Not sure where else you’d put it.] and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Fit for an emperor, eh? Pretty cool. Apart from the spirit choice (brandy instead of whisky), this started out like a pretty classic julep, but then he just goes crazy and adds all sorts of things to it. Only modifications I made (besides no straw) were to use new mint sprigs for the garnish because the muddled ones were kind of gross-looking.

Mint Julep Prep

Tasting Notes:

BN: I found it interesting that he didn’t use whisky, as that is a pretty common spirit back then — but I guess that wasn’t how he heard about the drink. I’ll look into when that switch occurred. The addition of the fruit and rum was really delicious though, especially the citrus — it gave it a lot more depth than I’m used to in a simply sweet and minty julep. I wanted a little more mint flavor but I should have just muddled more. I also liked the ombre (PiC is proud of my vocabulary) effect that was made when the rum was added to the top – dark rum to orange brandy to green sugar-mint water.

PiC: A little alcoholic for me, but i like it. Even making it a little sweeter would be good. I especially like eating a raspberry off the top and then taking a sip.

The Slaver’s Bay – Game of Thrones Premiere

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Some of the first drinks I made as mixology experiments were for a Game of Thrones watching party. Some were better than others, but since the new season is about to start, I thought I should go back to my roots, so to speak.

To that end, I thought about what I would make for today, and I decided to go down the track of not necessarily something related to the show itself (White Walker Russians being the old standby) but rather making a cocktail that, if they had the ingredients, the characters in the show would actually drink.

Everyone loves the Daenerys storyline, and when I thought about where she was, the following came to mind. There are slavers, there are ships, so dark rum seems piratey and appropriate, but it’s also sort of Middle Eastern, so maybe some weirder spices — lavender, and what I wanted to be asian pear but they didn’t have it at the store, so just pear.

And this is what came out! Enjoy. Both the drink, and the premiere tonight!

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The Slaver’s Bay

  • 1.5 oz dark rum (Greyjoy brand works! Erm, I mean Kraken.)
  • 1.5 oz dry vermouth
  • 4 oz pear juice (try to get actual pear juice not just a can of pears; this was all the store had)
  • 1 tsp lavender
  • 1 pear slice (for garnish)

Muddle the lavender and the vermouth in the bottom of a mixing glass. Let it sit for a little bit to infuse. Pour in the other ingredients, stir, and double strain the full mixture into a rocks glass over ice. To make the garnish, I rolled the pear slice in the lavender to get it coated, which looked cool but made it kind of gross to drink as it fell apart into the drink. Maybe just use a sprig of lavender and a pear, separately.

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Tasting Notes

BN: I liked this a lot. What could have been too sweet was nicely tempered by the vermouth, adding a great smoothness and a little more flavor to the drink. It’s rare to have a dark rum drink that isn’t super sweet and this did the trick nicely. The lavender and pear went very well together (somewhat surprising to me, to be honest) and as the ice melted a bit different flavors came out and it melded even more. A good sipping drink, and a fitting drink for the Queen of Dragons.

PiC: I like this! You can actually taste the lavender – it’s very nice. It’s also really smooth, like it has almost a creamy feel when you drink it. And not too sweet. Very good!

The Space Harpoon – Philae Lands on a Comet

While we haven’t heard from the probe for some time, it’s still an important thing that we put a probe on a comet! Little old Philae, who is incommunicado at the moment, launched off of Rosetta and landed on a comet on the 12th, though it had some trouble. Because the main way it was supposed to attach was by using harpoons. HARPOONS!

Hence, this drink, which is based on a random recipe I found for grog, which they would have drank on whaling trips back in the day. Maybe. I have no idea. Note: I’m trying to do one every day this week, so this is the first of a bunch! Enjoy.

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The Space Harpoon

  • 1.5 oz rum (you probably want to use dark rum, but I was out)
  • 3 oz water plus more for boiling raisins (see below)
  • about two tablespoons of raisins
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • juice of one half lime (my limes are a bit small, so it might be a little less than that

This one uses a made up technique I call “boiling raisins.” Put the raisins in a small saucepan and cover them with water, barely. Then boil them for a while until the water looks kinda brownish. Let it cool, and pour it into the bottom of a glass (there should be around 1 tablespoon left, at least there was for me). Put the rest of the ingredients in (along with most or all of the raisins), stir, and enjoy! You can garnish with a lime slice if you like.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I liked this, mostly. It was a little watered down, which is fair because it had plain water in it, but it was easy to drink and had enough flavor to make it work. There was a bitter aftertaste that showed up partway through drinking it, but then it went away. Not sure what that was? In any case, the raisin and lime and sugar all worked really well together. I bet it would be even better with dark rum.

PiC: Although I was warned that this was odd before tasting it, I actually really liked it – it combined sour and sweet, which as a diehard Sour Patch Kids addict I am a steadfast fan of (though note that this does NOT taste like Sour Patch Kids). The raisins were kind of gross looking, but the taste was yummy.

The Safina – A Message From Hawaii

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I came across this story this weekend, and although it’s clearly not of international or even national significance, it seemed like a fun inspiration for a drink. Basically a Californian man came across a real-life message in a bottle when he was looking for his lost shoe on the beach. The message was an invitation to a child’s birthday party in Hawaii four years ago. (Her name is Safina, hence the name of the drink.) Logistically, I don’t quite get how this is an effective way to invite people to a party but hey, it’s the thought that counts. The couple that found it are now trying to get in touch with the family, to see if they’ll still honor the invitation…

Making this drink was a bit of a trial-and-error process. I had high expectations of what I could do at the beginning, and most of those expectations fell a little flat. Have you ever tried making coconut milk from scratch? Easy, I said! Nope. It’s not. I got to the point of slowly carving away the meat from the coconut husk with a spoon when I gave up and went to the supermarket for a carton of the milk (not pictured, to preserve my dignity). Secondly, my preparation method for the ingredients was not altogether effective — I’m adjusting the directions here to be what I think is the best method, though I haven’t tried it so I could be totally wrong.

Still, I actually very much liked the finished product, and with the changes listed below it should hopefully be even better! It’s light, flavorful, and has elements of both Hawaii (coconut, Kahlua) and the long ocean voyage that the bottle took (salt, rum).

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The Safina

  • 1.5 oz golden rum (dark might actually be better, but I was out…)
  • 1/2 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz salted caramel sauce (Got this from Trader Joe’s, delicious for all occasions)
  • 6 oz unsweetened coconut milk (You can make this from scratch yourself! Or, just buy it. Pro tip: Just buy it.)
  • 3-4 shakes chocolate bitters (Scrappy’s is awesome, a gift from the Partner in Crime)

As I said, I made a bunch of missteps when constructing this. Here’s what I think should be the best method. Warm the caramel sauce in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir together all ingredients. (I had poured them in together, but not mixed. I also saved the bitters for a garnish, but they should be put in at the beginning.) Once they are well enough mixed, pour them over crushed ice. This is the important step — I tried shaking the drink with crushed ice, but as soon as the caramel touched the ice, it hardened up and wouldn’t mix with anything else. So the drink definitely needs to be combined before getting cold. Top with a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkling of sea salt (like a Starbucks latté!).

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I actually liked this a lot more than I thought I was going to. I wish it was a little sweeter, and the different flavors a little stronger. They melded well enough together, but it was definitely primarily coconut and Kahlua tastes; I wanted to taste more of the caramel, salt, and bitters. I think the preparation changes I made above should fix this problem and, overall, it was a nice, easy, tropical drink.

PiC: Ditto.

The Bent Apple – iPhone Bendgate

Courtesy of Unbox Therapy

Apple’s new iPhone has had a few problems lately. From blocked cell phone service to erased user data, it hasn’t had the easiest of rollouts. But the picture above (from a video by Unbox Therapy) shows what, to my mind, is the weirdest flaw — they bend, and they’re not one of those fancy curved phones that are supposed to…

So, in honor of this problem (and the reason I’m glad I’m on the Xs series and not the main one), I give you The Bent Apple. It’s a little weird, something that would be typical (spiked cider) but changed in a way you wouldn’t expect. And, of course, it’s an apple. See what I did there?

Bent Apple Ingredients

The Bent Apple

  • 4.5 oz cider (if you can get fresh, unpasteurized cider, do that, because it’s awesome, and if you leave it for too long it gets fizzy and alcoholic all on its own. Yum.)
  • 1.5 oz rum
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ginger simple syrup (Yup, it’s back again. Not 100% sure you need this, though.)
  • apple (for garnish)

Mix it all up in a Boston shaker, strain and pour into a fancy looking glass. Garnish with an apple slice. Pro tip: I cut a little notch into the apple so it would easily stay on the edge of the glass.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: I liked this. While it smelled intriguingly like cumin, its taste wasn’t as strong, but other tasters disagree so I could just be immune (cumin is my favorite so I use it in everything). It had enough weirdness to be unique and tasty, and all the base ingredients (particularly the cider) were great on their own but melded together well. We learn that whether or not your phone is flexible, a Bent Apple is not necessarily a bad thing.

PiC: I thought the drink was very tasty – I was prepared to really taste the alcohol and you really can’t with this one, it’s like cumin apple cider. That sounds weird, but it was actually good and not too sweet even with the syrup (though more ginger flavor might  have been nice). I bet it would be good hot!

Bent Apple Final

Sundae Rummy Sundae – National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

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So, today is not to be confused with National Ice Cream Day, which happened on Sunday, but I’m happy for it to be confused with National Ice Cream Month, which apparently is the entirety of July. Now, I vowed that I wouldn’t do this sort of thing, pulling a random “holiday” that no one has ever heard of off of a marketing calendar, but when you look at the news these days, I think it’s understandable. I don’t want to make light of any of the numerous terrible situations occurring right now, so, instead, ice cream! And a pun about a massacre. But, you know, it’s an old massacre. Ish.

I didn’t want to make a simple float, or anything involving actual ice cream, so I tried to go for something that tasted like it without actually having the real thing. And this is what I came up with, for better or for worse. It’s frothy, it’s vanilla-y, and it looks kind of like a milkshake. I will say up front that this wasn’t my most successful drink, but with some alterations I think it could be pretty good.

SRS Ingredients

Sundae Rummy Sundae

  • 2 oz gold rum (You might want to try dark rum — would add an interesting sweetness)
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 oz ginger simple syrup (I got the recipe from this: Bon Appetit Beetnik Martini)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • club soda or seltzer (I used the former, because I don’t like the latter, but I think seltzer would have been a better choice for its acid)

The only trick to this recipe is the egg white, which I learned, from my partner in crime, is easy enough to separate from the yolk just by slooping (yes, I’m making that a word) the yolk back and forth between the shell halves of a cracked egg until all the white falls into a bowl. If you are worried about salmonella, I suppose that is valid, but I haven’t died yet so it’s probably okay?

Anyways, pour all the ingredients except for the club soda into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake it for five minutes. Yep, five minutes. You might want to wrap a tea towel around the shaker to spare your hands from a lot of pain. Or switch off. Or both! Get it shaken.

When the timer rings, strain the mixture about two-thirds of the way up a tall glass, and fill up the rest of the glass with club soda. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and you should be all set.

SRS Close Up

Tasting Notes:

BN: As I said before, this wasn’t my favorite. I loved the way it looked and the texture of it, but the taste wasn’t quite there — it needed more ginger, more cinnamon, and just generally more of something that wasn’t rum or vanilla. But, if you stick a little more of those things in there, I think it has a lot of potential. And, it really felt like a milkshake without being one, so that was pretty cool. It also slowly separated, which was fun to watch — but it really means you should drink it quickly.

PiC: I like it! It could use a little more flavor, I think. But generally I think your signature is that your drinks taste like they have alcohol in them.