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Prospecting For a Beer

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The cocktail for our weekly cocktail, beer and gaming night last night comes from the wonderful local cocktail blog, cocktail virgin slut :

prospect512.jpgProspector Cocktail

Stir with ice and strain into a double rocks glass. Add ice cubes and garnish with a lemon twist.

And it was a very nice cocktail, reminiscent of one of my favorite cocktails, a Rusty Nail, with the added complexity of the Chartreuse. Good stuff. I even used one of my fancy round ice cubes from the cool ice cube tray I got for being an "ambassador" for Maker's Mark bourbon. Being an ambassador just means I let them mail me tchotchkes whenever they want, which is a pretty nice job. I've gotten some cool stuff from them - letter sealer, fancy cards, and the aforementioned round ice cube maker, which makes cubes about the size of a tennis ball.

Eisenbahn LustWe followed that up with a pretty special beer. My friend brought over a big bottle of Eisenbahn Lust, which is a "champagne style" beer from Brazil. Pretty special. I'm not usually a big fan of extremely carbonated beers, but this one went down very well, even despite (or maybe because of?) the 11.5% ABV. Plenty of sediment, but a pretty light taste with plenty of feel. Really enjoyed it, although at over $30 for a 750ml bottle, it probably won't get bought very often.

And while we sipped the Eisenbahn Lust, we played some more Dead Island. It has been pretty fun. We played until after midnight, which is pretty unusual. We moved the main story line along (we finally opened up The City, which promises to be pretty tough) and solve a bunch of side quests along the way. There's still some annoying UI glitches that make me twitchy. Takes too many clicks to wield a weapon. And when you pick up a bottle of liquor (one of the recurring sidequests uses those), you for some reason "wield" it as a weapon. If you don't notice, when you swing, you swig instead. And for some reason, it wouldn't let me "set" which sidequest I was working on - kept saying I wasn't allowed to track another quest when working on the main quest in co-op mode. I have no idea what that means.

But racing along the road taking out zombies has been fun. And there have been a few tough battles, although death is far too painless. You spawn pretty close to where you died, with the only penalty being you lose a few dollars. Hardly effective, really. I would have liked for more. But it has been fun and we're looking forward playing again next week.

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First The Money, Then The Game

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For our Wednesday night cocktail, I made an old standby. From the New Classic Cocktail book comes this twist on the "Cuba Libre" (or, as I just call it, a rum and coke):

First The Money
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. white creme de menthe
  • crushed ice
  • 1 oz dark rum (I used the old standby, Myer's)
  • 3/4 oz Toussaint coffee liqueur (I've never seen this so I do as the book suggests and substituted Kahlua)
  • Cola

Cut the lime into wedges and muddle in a highball glass with the creme de menthe. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the rum and Toussaint. Top with cola.

I had a recently opened 2 liter bottle of kosher Coca-Cola (the kind with the yellow cape and real cane sugar), so that's why I wanted to make this. It is a very nice variation on a straight rum and coke. Even that tiny bit of creme de menthe adds a real pop to it. Went down smooth while sitting on the deck on a warm summer eve.

Bell's Oberon AleOur beer tonight was Bell's Oberon Ale, which my friend had "imported" from Pennsylvania. I enjoyed it - a little fruity and a little fizzy but a very nice drinkable 5.8%ABV summer ale.

For our co-op computer gaming, we decided to punt playing Serious Sam 3 on Mental level, as it still wasn't enough of a challenge and we had had enough of tweaking the parameters. So we moved on to Dead Island, which was on sale a couple weeks ago for US$12. Spectacularly brutal game, with some slight nods to RPG lite, with things like levels and skill trees. Still pretty easy though, with almost no penalty, besides a cash one, for death. It doesn't really even penalize you for wandering off alone, which is unfortunate, as we did tend to split up - not much of a co-op game if you don't have to play it together! We have only scratched the surface, so perhaps it will get harder.

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A Beer, a shot and a shotgun

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A quick recap from last night -

We had our weekly cocktail and beer with co-op gaming last night. The cocktail for the evening was from one of my favorite cocktail books (I do have a lot, don't I?):

New Classic CocktailsNew Classic Cocktails by Allan Gage :

In this one, he gives the recipe for a "classic" cocktail and then shows another twist on it. Here, the "classic" cocktail is the Tijuana Sling. But we had the twist:

Border Crossing
  • 1.5oz gold tequila (I used my favorite, Cazadoras)
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1oz clear honey (I actually used agave nectar)
  • 4 dashes of orange bitters (Fee Bros.)
  • 3oz ginger ale

You mix everything but the ginger ale vigorously and strain it into a highball glass with plenty of ice. Top it off with the ginger ale and add blueberries and lime wedges as a garnish.

It was very good. I might cut back a tad on the agave nectar and, probably, add a little more tequila (never a bad thing), but I can see how this would be quite refreshing on a hot day. It was a warm evening and it helped.

1554 Enlightened Black Ale by New Belgium BrewingThe beer was from New Belgium Brewing, the 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. It was a very nice "session" (5.6% ABV) ale, very malty and smooth. We let it warm up a bit while we drank our cocktail and it was perfect. This was an "imported" beer, as New Belgium beers aren't found 'round these here parts. But my buddy has in-laws who come up from PA and they brought him a couple six packs. Very nice.

The Black Ale went very nice with our Serious Sam 3: BFE co-op gaming. 3 of us are replaying the game on the "Mental" level, which is as hard as it gets. The monsters are mostly invisible, only briefly appearing when they are hit. We've been having fun, although we might have to ratchet up the difficulty a little bit. When we did the first play through, on the Hard level, we made it tougher on ourselves by having to share the armor and health powerups. We've set this one to not share, so everyone gets their own health & armor, but that may be too easy. I like having to negotiate who needs the armor and health.

Well, we played until Steam started hiccuping and kick my remote buddy off. Michael and I played a bit more but called it a night, as we had already finished the 4th level (out of 12).

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On Cocktails And Serious Sam

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So we had a good cocktail and beers and gaming night last night. First up was a cocktail I got from one of my favorite cocktail books. I have a ton of books, but this one is really great. "The Martini Book" by Sally Ann Berk is much more clever and unique inside than the vanilla title would indicate. Lots of great recipes, with little interesting jokes and historical tidbits, like the Winston Churchill martini - pour a glass of ice cold gin and look at a bottle of vermouth. Or this joke:

A college professor walks into a bar. "Bring me a martinus," he says.
The bartender smiles politely and says, "You mean martini?"
"If I want ore than one," snaps the professor, "I'll order them."

Bada bing!

I had a copy for years, but glitter glue(!) got spilled on it, so it was kind of a mess. And it was out of print, so impossible to replace. But I was very excited to see it got reprinted in 2007, so I grabbed a copy.

Last night, I made a Mama's Martini:

  • 6 part vanilla vodka (Stoli in this case)
  • 1 part apricot brandy (I actually used Marie Brizard Apry, which is a top notch apricot liqueur)
  • 3-5 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 3-5 dashes of lemon juice
Shake over cracked ice and strain into a martini glass.

This was real good. Probably a tad sweeter with the Apry than the recipe wanted, so maybe I would add a little more lemon juice next time. And probably try it with the Barrel-aged Bitters from Fee Brothers too.

Then we cracked opO'Hara's Irish Stouten a beer that was recently added to my "365 Beers" Pinterest board - an O'Hara's Irish Stout. And this too was very very good. A real drinkable stout, with great flavor and only 4.3% ABV, so it went down really well while playing Serious Same 3: BFE

And we came really close to finishing it, I think. We blew through the Last Man On Earth level, after having some trouble with it last week. And then we went quite far in the final level, The Guardian Of Time. At least I think we went quite far. We played for about an hour and a half until finally getting taken out. But even after we finish, I think we may crank the difficulty (we're playing on Hard) and give it another whirl. It's been fun and the three of us have had some serious chuckles. I am working on a fan fiction retelling of our game that I need to get back to.

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365 Bottles Of Beer

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For Christmas I got a 365 Bottles Of Beer For The Year daily calender and, unfortunately, every last one of them sounds great! But for ones that really rise above the rest, I have created a Pinterest board to pin them too. Let me know if you want an invite to Pinterest. I've found it fun enough. Here's my latest entry:









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Cocktails 'n' Gaming: Sazerac

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Wow, I need to do a post today before I get too far behind on my Cocktail 'n' Gaming posts!

Last week, we went Olde School again, this time with the New Orleans classic, the Sazerac, with the recipe from David Woolrich's wonderful book Imbibe!:

  • 1/2 cube sugar
  • 2 oz whiskey (must be rye. I used Jim Beam)
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • lemon twist
  • splash of absinthe (I used the wonderful Spanish absinthe Obsello)

I'll quote the good doctor's mixing instructions, which came from the late Tome Handy at the Sazerac Bar :

Frappe an old-fashioned flat bar-glass; then take a mixing glass and muddle half a cube of sugar (1/2 tsp) with a little water; add some ice, a jigger of good whiskey, 2 dashes o Peychaud's bitters and a piece of twisted lemon peel; stir well until cold, then throw the ice out of the bar-glass, dash several drops of absinthe into the same, and rinse well with the absinthe. Now strain the Cocktail into the frozen glass and server with ice water on the side.

peychaud.jpg

I finally came across a bottle of Peychaud's in a local grocery store, of all places, so I was dying to finally mix up a real Sazerac. To "frappe" a glass means to fill it with chipped ice and let it set a while. It didn't say to add any ice to the drink, so we didn't. It tasted real good!

IniquityBlackAleAndAmericanKriek.jpgFor beers, we had a hit and a miss. Micheal brought over a bottle of Southern Tier iniquity Imperial Black Ale, which was the hit. Really full taste with lots of things going on. A "black" ale, which is odd for an IPA but really works here.

Second beer poured was one of the Samuel Adams "Barrel Room Collection", the American Kriek. It is a red fruity beer, which uses black cherries for flavoring. It was just too fruity for us.

Finally, for gaming, we finished up the last of the "Terrorist Hunt" maps in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2. The last two were just "dark" versions of previous maps, including our toughest one. But we must be getting good at it, because we did pretty well on all three. Then Michael made it safely home in Yet Another Snowstorm, but that was 3 storms ago!

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Cocktails 'n' Gaming: James Bond

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The cocktail for our Cocktails 'n' Co-op Gaming night last night was an old standbye - the James Bond Martini, from one of my favorite cocktail books, The Martini Book: 201 Ways to Mix the Perfect American Cocktail:

James Bond Martini

  • 6 parts gin (the usual - Bombay Sapphire)
  • 2 parts vodka (in this case, Tito's Handmade)
  • 1 part Lillet blanc
  • Lemon Twist

WeizenAndBabyTree Beers.jpgJust shake with cracked ice and strain into a nice frozen cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. Pretty refreshing, actually, even if mixing gin and vodka seems like overkill.

We followed that with a couple beers. First up was one of the more unusual kinds of beers - a Rauchbeir, which is a German beer with a heavy "smokiness". We tried the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbeir Marzen a few weeks ago and found it, interesting. It was our first Rauchbeir, so we perhaps weren't quite ready for it, because we really liked this one, the Weizen. Either we're getting more used to it, or this one isn't as overpowering, but the smokiness added to the flavor, rather than overwhelming it, like it seemed to with the Marzen.

And we followed that with a bottle from a local artisanal brewer, Pretty Things Brewery. We have really enjoyed their flagship beer, Jack D'Or and found their Hedgerow Bitter a little over the top. But we really like this one, the Baby Tree - very smooth and tasty.

Gaming last night was, again, a couple of hours playing Terrorist Hunt in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2. We must be getting good, as despite the difficulty level and number of enemies cranked to the max, we cleared 3 maps. It's definitely a lot of fun to coordinate the 3 of us in the attack. Still wish we could play in story mode though.

R6Vegas2.jpg


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Patriot Punishment

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Tailgate 1Well, that was a pretty awful effort by the Patriots on Sunday, wasn't it? Sure, the Jets played a perfectly servicable game but I find more things to blame in the Patriots game plan than successes I can point to in the Jets. For an accurately painful wrapup, please check out PatriotsDaily.com's Making the Grades.

One thing that I think is a recent development is the insistence on sticking with the game plan when it is obviously not working. I felt it in the earlier Browns loss and again on Sunday. Maybe it's hubris, maybe there are changes too subtle for me to notice, but it was pretty obvious to most of us in the stands that things just weren't working as planned and it was time to change it up. But they get stuck in their ways and there isn't enough effort to go in different directions. What's the old Albert Einstein quote?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That is how I feel about the Patriots when things don't work as they plan. Maybe they (and specifically, Coach B) are reading their own press clippings too closely, but things just didn't change, despite their reputation for flexibility and adaptibility. Coming out of the locker room in the second half, I would have gone to the no-huddle and worked the Jets hard. Instead, they went into a grind it out offense, taking long periods of time to get no points at all. And I also would have blitzed the hell out of Sanchez, although I can't really blame the defense much.

Tailgate 2Anwyay, we had a great tailgate. The weather was about as great as you could hope for in the middle of January - 30s, sunny with a little bit of wind. I brought my 32" flat screen, hooked it up to a little antennae and we enjoyed the opening game of the day, a Bears blowout. We sipped a very nice concoction I made from a book I got from my mom for Christmas. Called The Authentic Guide to Drinks of the Civil War Era, 1853-1873, it is a pretty cool compendium of drinks aimed at reenactors, so the quantities are often pretty large, so this was a good chance to make one. I wanted a warm one and this one really worked.

Orange Punch

  • 1/2 pint port (I used a Warres LBV)
  • 3/4 to 1 pint rum (I used Bacardi silver)
  • 3/4 to 1 pint brandy (I used Chateau des Plassons cognac)
  • 1 oz. Curacao, Noyau or Maraschino (I used maraschino)
  • 3 1/2 pints boiling water
  • Juice 3 to 4 oranges (I used 4)
  • Peel of 1 or 2 oranges
  • 3/5 lb. sugare

Add orange juice and peels to sugar & boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, strain and add liquor. Add more warm water or sugar if desired weaker or sweeter (I thought it worked perfectly as is). You can make a good lemon punch by substituting lemons for oranges.

It was really really good. And the other guys at the tailgate thought it so good, they want to make it a tradition along with the hot chocolate and schnaps!

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Cocktails 'n' Gaming: Sidecar

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A basic cocktail last night, for our weekly drinks 'n' gaming session. I managed to snag a few Meyer Lemons, which are so precious during these cold winter months! To keep it simple, I made a Sidecar:

Mix 'n' strain into an ice cold, sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Pure heaven.matilda_2010.jpg

Brooklyn-Local-1.jpgAnd we had a couple of brews. My co-op gaming friend and I have become somewhat addicted to artisanal brews in big bottles. First was Brooklyn Local 1 from the Brooklyn Brewery. We have had their Oktoberfest beer and while it was okay, it wasn't as good as promise from Imbibe, who put it inn their top autumn beers list. Brooklyn Local 1 is a very fizzy beer! The cork flew off when I opened it, like a champagne bottle. And it was another okay beer. A little light and too fizzy.

We followed that up with a frosty mug of Goose Island Matilda, a Belgian style pale ale. Now that was yummy - smooth, tasty and refreshing.

The beer went very well with our intense battles in the Murdercity Terrorist Hunt in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2. While it is disappointing that you can't play the campaign in co-op mode, the three of us have been having fun with each map in the Terrorist Hunt mode. We crank the difficulty, max the number of enemies and give us each 1 extra life and that makes for a tough match, especially in this map. It's a close assault map, with enemies popping out pretty much anywhere, which makes it tough.

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Martini Nirvana

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A friend recently forwarded a link to a blog post for making a "perfect martini". Of course, his credibility went far downhill when it was revealed he is talking about making vodka "martinis", but there are some good pointers. So I figured I would repost my steps to martini nirvana. You really should use a high quality gin, but if you must make a vodkatini, you can still follow these steps.

  1. Most importantly, you need cold ingredients. This is where most bars fail. Store your vodka and gin in the freezer. Store your vermouth in the refrigerator (it's a wine, so it will freeze up solid if you put it in the freezer). You don't necessarily need to store your cocktail glasses in the freezer, although I do. If you put them in the ice tray about a half hour before you need them, you'll have nicely frosted glasses.
  2. Fresh, perfectly cracked, ice. Not ice that's been sitting in your freezer for months, slowly desiccating away, absorbing strange odors. And you need it cracked just the right size. Too big, and it won't chill things
    Bombay-sapphire

    Image via Wikipedia

    nicely. Too small, and it will water down your drink too much. Up until recently, I found the best tool for doing this was the Lewis Ice Bag. You put ice cubes in the heavy canvas bag, give it a few whacks with the wooden club, and you have correctly sized ice pieces. You can easily control how big or small the pieces are, just by how many times you whack it. It comes in a nice container, with some classic cocktail recipes, including the martini one I now use. Electric ice crushers don't work very well, as they tend to make the ice chips too small - more like slush than ice cubes, which means they melt too rapidly. But now I use the ice machine in our new refrigerator, which makes some pretty good crushed ice. Maybe a tad too small, but servicable nonetheless for making the perfect martini.
  3. Top shelf ingredients. Because there is nothing masking the taste of the liquor in a great extra extra extra dry martini, you have to use great booze. We're a Bombay Sapphire family here. Tanqueray is a solid gin, especially the No. Ten label. We also recently enjoyed a bottle of Knockabout Gin from a nearby distillery, Ryan & Wood. Its 80 proof went over easier than the much stronger Bombay Sapphire. However, gin seems to be affecting us a little more and for a little longer, as we get older, so moderation is the key here. There just isn't enough taste to regular vodka to make it all that interesting as a martini. I'm not nearly as wedded to a premium vodka brand as I am to Sapphire as a gin. We've done some taste testings in the past, and while you could taste some differences, it was more that - a difference - and not something that would create a preference either way. I've enjoyed all the big names in premium vodkas, like Belevedre, Grey Goose (what is it with these liquor web sites? Addicted to Flash and asking a stupid quest
    Noilly Prat is the company's French brand of v...

    Image via Wikipedia

    ion about how old you are, like they are pr0n peddlers or something), and the like. I also like Three Olives Vodka, for something that tastes great and is a good price. For a handcrafted vodka, try Tito's Handmade Vodka.
  4. The vermouth you use is amazingly important, despite the fact the the modern martini uses very very little (the Winston Churchill martini recipe calls for gin in a cocktail glass, and then look at a bottle of vermouth:-). This is especially true for a vodka martini, with the (dry!) vermouth adding most if not all of the flavor. I'm a Noilly Prat man myself, even with the "new" formula. I guess we use little enough that it isn't badly affected by the complaint of a yellower, more aromatic vermouth. Besides, it is still a damn sight better than other commonly available vermouths, like Martini & Rossi or Stock. Remember, vermouth is a wine, so you need to keep it cold but it can also get old, which is why I don't stock up nor do I like buying the 1 liter bottles. Don't let it sit around in your refrigerator!
  5. Okay, now that you have your ingredients, it is time to make the drink. Put the perfectly cracked ice pieces into your cocktail shaker. I love to collect cocktail shakers, but I really only use the standard stainless steel tall cup, topped with a glass mug. Like James Bond, I like my martinis shaken not stirred. I used to stir it, but then I tried this recipe from the Lewis Ice Bag and have been shaking it ever since, never mind the tale about "bruised gin". Pour your cold vermouth into the shaker, give it a couple of vigorous shakes and then strain out all the vermouth you can get out, leaving just coated ice in there. That'll be plenty of vermouth.
  6. Now add your vodka or gin that you've pulled from the freezer. Don't be stingy, add plenty, because you have nice big cocktail glasses, chilling in the freezer right? Now shake it again, until your hand gets too cold to hold the steel cup. Set it aside to let it rest.
  7. While the martini is resting in the cocktail shaker, get out your olives. I don't like fancy olives. Give me a nice Queen pimento-stuffed green olive any day. All the other kinds add more flavors I don't want in my martini - anchovy, pepperoncini, bleu cheese, etc. I have to admit, we did try almond-stuff olives once. I figured the almonds wouldn't add flavor to the drink anyway. I still prefer standard ones. Put the olives (don't be stingy here either!) on a paper towel and squeeze. Try to dry them off. Again, you don't want olive brine to ruin your perfect martini, do you? While some (like FDR) like a "dirty" martini, where you actually add extra brine on purpose, the very idea of mangling a perfect cocktail like that makes my skin crawl. Stick the olives on a colorful toothpick and set them aside.
  8. Take your chilled cocktail glasses out of the freezer. You want a clear glass, so you can enjoy the transparent perfection of your creation. Don't hide it behind a colored cocktail glass please! Now strain your martini into the cocktail glasses. Don't worry about a few ice chips getting in there; that just adds to the beauty of the whole thing.
  9. Gently place your toothpick of olives into your cocktail glass and bask in the perfection that is a martini. Take a sip. It should almost take your breath away, even a vodka one. Freezing cold on the tongue, yet with a burning warmth down the throat. Ahhhh, I can taste it now!

So that's my process for making the perfect martini. And I've never gotten any complaints, either! The main thing is to use cold ingredients, the right vermouth and to make it dry.

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imbibing Away

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Drambuie Bottle

Image via Wikipedia

We had our weekly cocktail & computer gaming session last night and we opened with a cocktial found in the latest issue of imbibe magazine, which showed up in the mail yesterday. While many of the cocktails in this magazine tend to use fancy, custom syrups (like this month's The Witch Hunt, which wants you to make "apple-cardamom syrup" ), there's always a few that are useful. In this case, we tried the The Kilted Pistolero, which is a very nice tasting mixture of tequila & Drambuie. It says the recipe was created to bring the bottle of Drambuie from the back of the bar (guess no one likes Rusty Nails or Stingers any more!)

The Kilted Pistolero

  • 1.5oz blanco tequila (I actually used my favorite reposado, Cazadores
  • 3/4oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Drambuie
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (I used the Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters)
Shake in ice-filled shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Rusty Nail

  • 1.5 oz Scotch (I'm a Dewar's White Label fan)
  • .5oz Drambuie

Pour Scotch and Drambuie over plenty of ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Stir well, and serve with stirrer.


Stinger

Same as above - pour liquors into Old Fashioned glass with plenty of ice. Stir and server with stirrer.

We followed that with a full icey mug of Sierra Nevada North Hemisphere Harvest beer, one of imbibe's 50 Best Brews for Every Season, in this case, the Fall beers. I went on a quest for the fall beers last month and found a couple. The Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest beer was only okay - nothing too memorable. The Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen was realy good while the Aecht Ochlenferla Rauchbeir was a truly strange tasting "smoked" beer.

I was also able to find the Southern Hemisphere Harvest beer (which was pretty good) but it wasn't until Michael found it that we got to try the Northern Hemisphere. A very hoppy beer. I liked the Southern Hemisphre better, as it was smoother but with as much character as the Northern.

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MixMo VI - Grapes

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The latest Mixology Monday is up and this time it is at Saving the world, one drink at a time and the theme is Grape.  I didn't get my act together to join in the carnival, but there sure looks to be some yummy concoctions going on over there:

Saving the world, one drink at a time.: Mx Monday - Grapes

More lemons

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More in the lemon MixMo 5 line comes this series on making your own limoncello:

The Spirit World - Part I: Making Limoncello
Lemon-22.jpg

MM-5.gifWelcome to Mixology Monday 5, where we have lots and lots of lemon goodness. You know the old saying - "When life hands you a lemon, it must be time to make a cocktail." (or something like that anyway). The Wikipedia has, as usual, plenty of lemon information, which you can find here. As I've said in a couple of my previous cocktail entries, I highly recommend trying to track down some Meyer Lemons, which have a special lemon goodness all their own. My Mom got me a box for my birthday, which is in February and is a very good month to get them (you can check out Melissa's for more info). Anyway, thanks for the great turnout - we have quite the international showing this time around, with entries spanning the globe, which is great to see. So let the show begin!

We live in a world where lemonade is made from artificial flavoring and furniture polish is made from real lemons
Alfred E. Neuman
Lemon_s.jpg

Macky, from Macky's Garden in the Philippines, entices us with A Night in Old Mandalay, which mixes rums, juices and ginger in a tall highball glass.

Next, a stop in Sydney, Australia, where Anna of Morsels and Musings fame, takes us on a trip to northern Italy and whips us up a batch of sgroppino, an ice cold drink using lemon gelato, citron vodka, limoncello and more lemons.

Alicat of Something So Clever, located in Montana, US (one of the few places where it is even hotter than here in Boston!), invites us over with recipe that takes you from parched to refreshed in no time flat, a homemade hard lemonade, as well as an ice-cube laden Amaretto Squeeze, which combines Amaretto and lemon juice for that frangipane taste.

Marleigh, whose Sloshed is making a MixMo debut, whips up some frozen goodness with a Lemon Sorbet, by using citrus vodka, limoncello (not surprisingly, a real favorite for this MixMo!), peach schnapps, lemonade and cream to create a frothy refresher.

At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote.
Emo Phillips

The blogger we like to blame for MixMo, Paul from The Cocktail Chronicles and Seattle Washington, invites us to try a special South American brandy, pisco, in a Pisco Sour.

Meeta jets in from Germany while writing for What's For Lunch Honey?, and shows us how to make an easy summer refresher for the entire neighborhood, with a delicious Limoncello Cooler.

Another visit from Down Under, this time from the beautiful city of Melbourne, where Haalo writes Cook (almost) Anything at least once. She finds two different bottles of lemon spirits in the cabinet, so she shakes us up a Lemon Vanilla Fizz using the Limoncello, mixing it with soda water, vanilla pods and lemon leaves, and uses the citron vodka to good effect in a simple yet elegant Lemon-tini.

lichtenstein_lemon.jpg

Jen, the Californian who writes cocktail jen, points us to some limoncello recipes, unveils her own homemade limoncello for us, and encourages us to "try this at home".

Jimmy, a Californian who writes Jimmy's Cocktail Hour and hosted the previous MixMo on Apéritifs, goes on a quest in the priceless CocktailDB for the perfect lemon drink. After a short side trip to the land of the Whiskey Sour, he settles on an enduring classic and a true favorite of mine, the Sidecar.

Barbie, who writes barbie2be from the US west coast, entices us with a lemon twist on another classic, creating the Limoncello Cosmopolitan.

Darcy's Art of Drink creates a new cocktail for our carnival by combining the ever-popular limoncello, pear liqueur, vermouth, soda and bitters while walking us through the creative process, where he ends up with a Lemon & Pear Cocktail.

When life hands you a lemon, say 'Yeah, I like lemons. What else ya got?'
Henry Rollins

Michael, who writes a dash of bitters, visits us from a full freezer in Brooklyn, New York and takes us slowly through the limoncello creation process, and honors us by uncorking it for the first time. He then offers up two new cocktails, the Lemon Cart (a Sidecar twist using limoncello, cognac and lime juice) as well as a simple and refreshing Lemon Cooler.

Rick, the Kaiser Penguin of Pennsylvania and host of Mint MixMo III, brings us the Rum Keg, so break out those honkin' big hurricane glasses and fill it up with this yummy sounding mixture of juices, syrups, rum and ice.

And here at Jiggle The Handle, I got to unveil a new Dr. Cocktail recipe, and try both limoncello and yellow Chartreuse for the first time, with a Lemony Snicket cocktail. Also, be sure to try out the classic Lemon Drop as well.

So that wraps up another edition of Mixology Monday. Again, I want to thank everyone for showing up and giving us plenty to try out in the coming dog days of summer (at least here in the northern hemisphere). If you didn't get in here, don't give up - send me along the link or post it in the comments and I'll add your link. And be sure to check out MixMo VI, which will focus on the grape and is being hosted by Rick over at Saving the world, one drink at a time (an admirable philosophy).

Dogbert: "Well you know what they say, when life gives you lemon, make lemonade."
Dilbert: "But I'm allergic to citrus."
Dogbert: "Well you know what they say, when life gives you lemons, swell up and die."
Scott Adams (1957 - )

MixMo 5 Lemon cocktails

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So the place was busy this past weekend! On Saturday we hosted our daughter's seventh birthday party, which meant the joint was packed with family, friends, and relatives. As I was busy at the grill for most of the day, I couldn't get very creative at the bar. The usual Bombay Sapphire martinis and gibsons for the in-laws, but other than that everyone had to make do with the beer (Sam Adams Summer Brew and Light, Otter Creek Porter and Budweiser) and hard lemonade cooler. But I did think of MixMoV, of course, so I made a small batch of a long time favorite cooling cocktail, the Lemon Drop:

    Lemon Drop

  • 2.5 oz citron vodka (Citrus Three Olives)
  • 3/4oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (alas, no more Meyer Lemons...)
  • 1tsp superfine (bar) sugar

Put all the ingredients into a cracked ice filled shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Of course, as the vodka comes from the freezer, it makes for a cocktail shaker that is very hard to shake! It took me a bit to loosen up the ice cubes to get a good mixing action going, which is very important as you need to get the sugar mixed in. I suppose it would work pretty well with a healthy dollop of sugar syrup too, and make for an easier mixing. I rimmed the cocktail glasses with a nice coating of Lemon Drop rimmer, which works very very well too. I didn't have time to partake in this myself, but the guests were very pleased.

But yesterday was a recovery day, so we were able to take it pretty easy. Good thing too, as the weather has been stifling here, so a day puttering about and splashing in the pool was just what the doctor ordered. And speaking of doctors, the good Dr. Cocktail was kind enough to forward me along a new recipe he's been working on for the MMV Lemon carnival, so I figured this would be the perfect day to try it out.

    Lemony Snicket

  • 2.5 oz gin (Bombay Sapphire, of course, pulled from the freezer)
  • 1/2 oz Limoncello (Pallini, again out of the freezer)
  • 1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in a cracked ice filled cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with stemless cherry.

What a wonderfully complex yet refreshing cocktail! It was so good, I just had to have a second. You can really taste the various kinds of lemon in there, but all shaded with the distinctive herbs of the Chartreuse. I suppose you could make it with a vodka instead, for those gin-hating infidels, but it would certainly lose some of its complexity.

I was looking for an excuse to buy both the yellow Chartreuse and the Limoncello, and this fit the bill perfectly. The Chartreuse proved to be a very expensive addition to my liquor cabinet (over US$40 here in Massachusetts), but I figure it will last and I've been coming across a few recipes that called for it. I've had a bottle of the green Chartreuse for ages. I use it mostly in the Emerald Martini, which works very nicely, but I've never tried the yellow Chartreuse (and no, that isn't an oxymoron:-), which is a sweeter version of the green one. I should have tried it straight but I did not, but the smell definitely marked it as a sweeter Chartreuse.

As for the limoncello, I didn't know which one to try. There were, I think, three different brands on the store shelf, all priced about the same (US$20 a bottle). So I grabbed the Pallini, for no particular reason. I love a good lemon cocktail, and this looks like a great addition to the liquor freezer, even if the bottle is too tall fit standing up on any of the shelves. A favorite "simple" summer drink for me is raspberry (I'm a raspberry nut) vodka splashed into lemonade, and I'll bet a splash of limoncello would make a refreshing lemonade mixer too. Although I'm not a soda or seltzer fan, I imagine it would work very nicely with a plain version of one of those sparkling waters too.

So this is my entry for Mixology Monday 5, which I'll be hosting here. You have a few more hours to get me your lemon tasting cocktails over to me. Check back here tomorrow, Tuesday July 18, for the completely listing of all the entries. It's looking like a great turnout again, so thanks to all that have come over already and here's looking for the rest of you!

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