I’m judging the Iron Mixology Competition down in Charleston. Cheers! wb
Happy New Year all! I’ve been experimenting with citrus as of late- but instead of the usual juice it and forget it- the cast iron pan (over there) has made a new dimension to my drinks.
What? A cast iron pan? How do you mean?
I like the charred flavor of citrus fruits. But how?
Clementines are seasonal. As are blood oranges. Grapefruits are gorgeous at this time of year. Sure, they are great juiced, but why not heat up your cast iron pan to almost smoking, peel your citrus and throw it into the pan. Char the citrus and set aside to cool.
Use your juicer. What? You don’t have a juicer? Run down to Williams-Sonoma and buy one!
Tequila is one of my favorite mediums to work with. As is the new wave of “Botanical” Gin.
My first cocktail- named aptly the “Essence of Simplicity” cocktail is just that.
2-3 grapefruit peeled
sprig of mint
4 shots of Casa Noble Tequila
Heat your cast iron pan to sizzling hot
Char the grapefruit segments until nicely browned on all sides
Juice the segments and strain
Add Casa Noble Tequila to a cocktail shaker filled 1/2 with ice
Add one medicine dropper of Bitter End Moroccan Bitters to the shaker
Add the juice of the charred grapefruit
Shake!!! Shake!!! Shake!!!
Strain into a short rocks glass with a sprig of mint as garnish… Slurp and enjoy!
It’s aptly called the “Hedgehog’s Revenge”
Take about three each, peel away the bitter pith and char in your cast iron pan. Set aside to cool.
Juice the citrus fruits
To a cocktail shaker, add 1/2 with ice
Add 2 shots of Conjure Cognac
Add 4 shots of Ron de Jeremy Rum
Splash of Cava (Spanish Sparking Wine)
Add about 6 oz of the charred juices
Shake and strain into two Champagne flutes
Top with a splash of Cava
This Cocktail uses Botanical-style Gin. What is Botanical Gin? Quite simply, it’s Gin that tastes like something! Most of the Gin on the market today has very little flavor. If it said Vodka on the label- you’d be 1/2 way to a hangover by now! My friend Laura Baddish sent me some samples of a lovely Botanical Gin named Bulldog.
This is Gin with GUTS! It stands up to citrus faster than you can say “Gin with juice” which is the basis of this little drink. It’s more of a long drink than a mere shot.
You can also use- if you can find it… The new Gin named FEW from the mid-western part of the USA. It’s remarkable stuff and it reminds me of White Whiskey in the nose… (More to follow on this one)
The More to Follow Cocktail is just that. You want more- to follow!
Blood Oranges- Charred in the cast iron pan
Home cured cocktail cherries
2 Shots of Bulldog or Few Gin
1 Shot of Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (or your choice)
1 Medicine Dropper of Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters
Muddle the cherries and mint together in a cocktail shaker
Add some ice- how much? Not much.
Add the Blood Orange juice
Add the Gin
Add the Carpano Antica
Add the Jamaican Jerk Bitters
Shake and strain into a tall Collins glass with a couple cubes of ice and one of your home-cured cherries.
sterilize some Ball jars
pit out some nice black cherries
fill jars and add a couple sprigs of lemon thyme
add a pinch of cardamom
top with brandy
seal and refrigerate for a week or so- no peeking!
enjoy in a cocktail or over ice cream!
Thanksgiving Cocktails and a Punch
This important holiday evening is started nicely with cheery glass of Cava, or Spanish sparkling wine. I then add a fire-roasted fruit puree. I’ve taken organic strawberries, charred them in a dry, yet sizzling hot, cast iron pan, let them cool, then run them through the food processor. I adjust the sweetness to taste with agave syrup, I then add a dollop or two of this smoky-sweet puree into each glass. Use two pints of strawberries and two 750 ml bottles of Cava for 8 people.
The tangy-sweet-tart quality of the strawberries when added to a mineral-tasting Cava just says a welcoming celebration in your spirited glass. You don’t need very much of this drink to say greetings and please join us at our bountiful table.
Dyed in the Wool
Another easy and exotic drink is a spin-off on the classic Rob Roy cocktail. In this case blended, (not single malt) scotch whiskey is added to a short rocks glass. I then add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some cool, rustic apple cider. A small splash of sweet vermouth finishes the drink.
The earthy, richly scented cider melts into the deeper tastes of scotch and the sweetness of the cider. Scotch and apple cider is a very sophisticated and a slightly under-the-radar combination.
2 shots blended scotch
1 shot sweet vermouth
1/4 cup apple cider (preferably unpasteurized, unfiltered)
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon twist for garnish
To a cocktail shaker add the blended scotch, sweet vermouth, apple cider and the freshly squeezed lemon juice with ice.
Shake and strain into a short rocks glass with a lemon twist and a shake or two of Angostura Bitters to finish. Serves 1.
For all of you wine lovers out there, may I recommend instead a perfectly lovely, crisp punch to go along with your dinner? Hard apple cider is marvelous when combined with sparkling, non-alcoholic cherry juice and some lemon and lime juices for spark. The flavors of hard cider with the citrus juices are marvelous with turkey and all of your fixings!
1 bottle of hard cider
1/2 bottle of non-alcoholic cherry cider
1/2 bottle of seltzer water
1/4 cup each of lemon and lime juices
2 cups ice
Mix all ingredients together, pour over ice and serve with round slices of lemon and lime. Makes 20 four-ounce portions.
If you don’t want an alcoholic beverage, please substitute non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider for the hard variety and use a bit of seltzer water for that celebratory fizz.
Dessert also calls for a deeply warming hot toddy. I’m especially fond of the classic Hot Buttered Rum. The extra warmth a toddy offers is the perfect send-off to your friends.
This drink is an exotic approach to the classic boiling hot water-based toddy, with the addition of sweet butter. You can also use freshly whipped cardamom and ginger-sweetened cream on top of the mug instead of butter; it’s your choice. I like to use dark spiced rum or a home-spiced whiskey for this hot drink.
For an interesting after-dinner drink, I suggest something a rich glass of Pedro Ximenez Sherry or an older vintage of Madeira — it’s rich and thick, a dessert in a glass! Ask your local wine store what they carry. Use this rule of thumb: dry sherry for appetizers, sweet juicy sherry with dessert.
4 to 5 shots spiced rum or good blended whiskey that you have spiced a few weeks in advance (see note below)
1 quart or more hot chai tea or strong black tea
1 pat sweet butter per drink (if you use whipped cream, eliminate the butter)
Pour a shot rum or whiskey into 4 or 5 preheated mugs, then distribute the chai tea among the mugs. Top with butter pats or spiced, sweetened whipped cream. Serves 4 to 5.
*How do I spice whiskey? Add apple pie spices with a split vanilla bean to a cheesecloth bag. Submerge into a bottle of whiskey for a couple of weeks before using. Use the spiced whiskey for all your whiskey-based cocktails.