Category - Food

1
SideBlog: Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa
2
Tiki Compliant: The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail
3
The Perfect Gift to NOT Give the Cocktail Lover in Your Life
4
SideBlog: Now This Here is Some Falernum
5
MxMo Inversion: Ginger Simple Syrup
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SideBlog: Dagreb’s Improved Falernum Recipe

SideBlog: Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa

Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa. Different means to the same end, but mixing the methods would be a disaster. Related: New pasteurization method coming for eggs to make them more like fresh. Whiskey Sour lovers, rejoice.

Tiki Compliant: The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail

Queen's Park hotel Super Cocktail
The Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail is actually a pre-Tiki cocktail, but it fits perfectly into the category my friend Joe Garcia calls “Tiki Compliant“. Both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic learned their respective Tiki drink templates in the rum soaked Carribean (Don as an itinerant youth, Vic as a cold-eyed businessman doing market and product research), consuming drinks like (and perhaps including) the Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail. It checks all the required boxes for me to make it compliant: rum, citrus, exotic syrups, and melded flavors. I hesitate to just pretend it is an outright Tiki drink because of its origin, and its name, which is too British.

QUEEN’S PARK HOTEL SUPER COCKTAIL

  • 1 1/2 oz. gold Trinidadian rum (I used Mount Gay Eclipse because my Angostura 5 Rum bottle is on fumes)
  • 1/2 oz.Italian (sweet) vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh homemade grenadine
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake to chill well. Strain into a cocktail glass or small Tiki vessel and garnish with some form of elaborate lime garnish.

One of the things I love about this drink is that it uses vermouth! I had not encountered a Tiki recipe that used the stuff before, and I’m glad to see that you can make a quite tasty tropical that employs it to good effect. This one will be on the menu the rest of Tiki Month, and I intend to experiment with better and better rums, as this is a Tiki cocktail that I suspect will show off the better spirits, rather than waste them.

I found this in Jeff Berry’s lastest fantastic work: Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean. (Currently in stock from its publisher, Cocktail Kingdom) I will certainly have a full review of this book later in Tiki Month 2014, when I’ve finished most of it. Suffice it to say here that not only is it a great cocktail book, it is also a fantastic history of the Carribean as a whole, seen through the lens of the bottom of a glass.

The Perfect Gift to NOT Give the Cocktail Lover in Your Life

Grabbing Hand by ISOStock at DeviantArt
A “Helping Hand”
Image via ISOStock

Obviously, I’m not talking about giving an actual hand to the cocktail lover in your life for Christmas. Even if they were tragically missing one, the medical science isn’t there yet to help. I will note that hands (unless we are talking of Gaz Regan’s Negroni-stirring finger) are not actual bar tools anyway. You are supposed to use your hands to manipulate tools to do things like prepare ingredients. For example, you put your limes in a juicer to extract the juice. It is messy, imprecise, and wasteful to just use your fingers. This brings us closer to where I’m going…

What the Hell are you up to, Doug?
You often take your time reaching the lede, but you are beating around the bush than usual.

Funny you should put it that way. But yeah, this is going to take some discretion.

I’m going to show you a video next, a video for making a “Macho Mojito”. Deep within this beautifully lit and shot little how-to there lies a horrifyingly, hilariously deep level of wrong.
So very, very wrong.
The audio isn’t the best, so it may be hard to hear the relevant information when it appears. Pay close attention when the little snifter on the left comes into play….

Whether you’ve watched it or not, let’s break this exhibition of very special mixology down, shall we? Consider this in the vein of the master of bar video fisking, Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

1.
To make your Mojito, start with a couple of messy barspoons of granulated sugar… because that is so easy to dissolve.

2.
Squeeze in your limes by hand? Trust me, pretty soon you aren’t going to want this guy’s hands touching ingredients for any drink he’s making for you….

3.

Gonna add the rum… I like mine strong.

Um, yeah. I think we are all going to need a strong drink here shortly. And I don’t really rate that pour as all that strong, to be honest.

4.

Then we’ll mash it all up.

The thing we learn here is to oh so gently tamp down your mint and sugar. If you got in there and used any agitation or pressure at all, you might actually dissolve some of the sugar! Worse, you might bruise the mint, and this dude is muddling like he’s afraid to piss off that mint.

5.

And now we’re going to add some powdered sugar to the semen.

[Sound of phonograph needle being dragged across a record]

!

!

Yup. Semen. The mixologist producing this drink is Paul Photenhauer, author of Semenology – The Semen Bartender’s Handbook. Yes, it is real. Click the link. It will take you to the Amazon page for this book. But do not give this book to your cocktail enthusiast friend…

Unless you have a very specific message to send, that is!

You are not helping, Guy.
In other news, don’t worry my foodie readers, Photenhauer has got you covered too, with a gift not to give this Christmas.

Congratulations, you’ve finally dug down to the well-buried lede of this post. I’m sorry, but Spoogetails are just a very bad idea, for all sorts of reasons.

To begin with, Semen cocktails? Really?
Disclaimer: I personally am not a consumer of semen (shocking to those who know me as this might be). I thus have no personal experience with its taste. But my sources tell me that for those who do enjoy the occasional loving spoonful, it is really about inducing the production, rather than the end product….

Further, the mixology of this particular drink is just all wrong from a technical standpoint. You see, what they are whipping up in that little snifter is a protein foam, very similar in chemical construction to how a bartender would employ an egg white. Foams are great in certain cocktails, but they have no place in a light, carbonated drink like a Mojito. I’d suggest you use this stuff in something where you are looking for a richer mouthfeel…. It is the holidays, so perhaps you could make an eggnog with this stuff replacing the chemically very similar egg white foam?

How about a Ramos Gin Jizz?

Oh. My. God!
Stop encouraging him!

Actually, that would work. The point is that if you were to employ this rather dubious ingredient, at least do it in a way that is culinarily and chemically sound.

You are really going into the science of semen?

Hey, I once wrote that bringing along Gaz Regan would be the secret to a successful Mars mission. We think deep thoughts here at the Pegu Blog, lady.

But this brings us to the third problem with this ingredient, it doesn’t make for much of a trend unless professionals are going to serve them in bars. The implications here only get worse. Today’s cocktail enthusiast demands fresh, um, squeezed ingredients. We are looking at a pretty fundamental shift in the nature of the barback’s job here, folks!
Further, say we put Guy’s Ramos Gin Jizz on the menu, and they grow, God forbid, popular? Hearkening back to the original, will bars that serve this have to go back to the line of ten strapping young men behind the bartender, er, shaking for all they are worth, one after the other, to produce….

Stop!
Just stop! I refuse to be a part of this any longer.
Wrap it up, Writer Boy.

Why are you so against this, dear?
I’d think you could be a big help with….

Are you really wanting to piss me off?
Is it truly your intent to make this, of all things, a subject that I angrily reject?

Hey Doug!
You’re going to edit out this last exchange, right?

Sure, Guy. Whatever you say.

SideBlog: Now This Here is Some Falernum

Now this here is some Falernum. Doing it well, doing it beautifully. Via @Dabreb

MxMo Inversion: Ginger Simple Syrup

MxMo-Tiki-ThumbToday is Mixology Monday, and this month’s theme is “Inverted”, which could mean a lot of things. I intend to take it as turning a concept on its head, as you will see if you hang with me. Since it is Tiki Month on this blog, and other places as well, I’m going to keep with the Tiki theme and invert a Tiki element.

Part of the fun, but also a big part of the pain in the ass of Tiki are the myriad of exotic ingredients you need to make or track down. These syrups, juices, etc. take varying amounts of work to make or obtain, but they all have limited shelf lives and most have very little application to cocktails other than Tiki. If you keep enough of them on hand to make a decent range of Tiki drinks, you practically have to make nothing but, just to keep from throwing away a criminal amount of the stuff. This is both expensive and depressing.

This is the biggest reason for Tiki Month. I love Tiki drinks, but not enough to crowd out all the others in the larger world of craft cocktails. So I indulge myself in one month a year where I assemble all those fruits and home-made or difficult to obtain liquids, and chase away the cold. The whole idea of Tiki Month itself is a bit of an inversion, but not the focus here.

This post is about a particularly useful but problematic essential Tiki ingredient, ginger simple syrup. Ginger simple is awesome because of the exotic but gentle burn it can lend to a drink. It plays well with a very wide range of juices, spirits, and even other spices. Further, it is an exception to my rule above about Tiki syrups not being much use in more mainstream cocktails.

The list of decidedly non-faux-polynesian drinks that can be happily modified or improved by the mere substitution of your ginger syrup for plain simple is distinguished and too long to so much as scratch here. I’ll just name one: Rum Old-Fashioned.

Of the critical Tiki syrups, ginger simple is the only one I’ve tried making reasonably often when it is not Tiki Month.

And it is a pain in the ass.

The problem with ginger simple is that it lasts for a much shorter time than other similar infused syrups. The ginger flavor just packs up and leaves in a depressingly short time, leaving you with plain old simple syrup with an almost unidentifiable, imperceptible heat. Without a party or two, even during Tiki Month, the diminuative 12 oz bottles of ginger simple that I make don’t stay potent to the bottom.

I’ve done some research on extending ginger simple syrup’s life. A good thread at Tiki Central on a modified Mai Tai moves to an in-depth discussion of making ginger syrup last. The two prong approach they kind of settle on is to treat your raw ginger very roughly (Vitamix sounds like “Jack the Ripper” to fresh produce), and making your ginger syrup so strong it bites. I find this solution unsatisfying for several reasons. I don’t like brute force solutions. I imagine that this may introduce other chemicals into the syrup from the ginger than those you’d get in the traditional steeping method. Just starting with a stronger ginger content to delay the point where it fades to unrecognizability does not address the problem of the syrup weakening from one session to the next. And I’d spend longer cleaning my BlendTec carafe of all the fibrous remains than I would drinking the drinks I made with the ginger. I’m lazy. Sue me.

Another approach can be found at a blog with the mind-shatteringly awesome name of I Love You but I’ve Chosen Cocktails. It is more focused on creating a ginger beer base than a cocktail syrup. The approach here is to add a bit of lemon juice to the ginger puree, altering the PH. This allegedly helps stabilize the flavor essences of the ginger, making them less likely to volatilize. But now you have lemon juice in your ginger syrup, along with a lot of sugar. It could work in some applications, but a recipe calling for generic ginger simple may find this version problematic.

After wrestling this with some time before this Tiki Month, I’ve decided to give up invert the problem; stand it on its head, if you will. I harkened back to the words of the mighty philosopher Mick Jagger, who once spake, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.

Hipster kiddies, you probably don’t get that joke, but trust us old farts, it’s friggin’ hilarious!

Well, at least it makes sense.

What I wanted was ginger simple syrup that would be stable in flavor long enough to use most of it. But what I, and other cocktailians, needis a way to get ginger into a cocktail, in reliable amounts, easily. Not the same thing.

I hit on the solution while browsing the herbal remedy section of one of our nearby organic/locavore/gluten-free supermarkets. (When you reach a certain age, your body starts telling you to stop dismissing herbal remedies as the poppycock you always thought, and give them a chance.) Here on the shelf was a bottle of high-quality, food-grade ginger extract.
DGINGER
A simple syrup base is the normal way that bartenders and mixers have been prepping certain flavors so they dissolve easily in cold liquids for decades. Sugar is common in drinks anyway, and preserves and retains lots of flavors well. Just not ginger.
The scales fell from my eyes as I saw that I did not actually need to do this with a single, special-purpose ingredient. I picked up a bottle. And you don’t need a nearby organic/locavore/gluten-free supermarket to do the same. Amazon has you covered.

Now I just use plain simple syrup, the ready availability of which in my bar is exceeded only by that of gin, and about 6 drops of pure ginger extract per teaspoon called for in a recipe. Further, when I’m making up my own drinks, the amount of ginger I can deliver to the drink is divorced from the amount of sugar I add. I get the same ginger heat, with added reliability and flexibility. The ginger essences in the extract are contained in a small, well-sealed bottle, and stabilized with alcohol, not sugar. The bottle will last a good long time on the shelf next to my bitters.

I save space in my fridge, time and mess in my kitchen, grumpiness from my wife over said mess in the kitchen, and waste in my bar. All for a little cheat on the Traditional Method. It is Tiki Month, and if it teaches you nothing else, it teaches you that there is good stuff to be learned from that Glorious Lack of Authenticity!

And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!

SideBlog: Dagreb’s Improved Falernum Recipe

Dagreb posts an improved version of his falernum recipe. You can’t have Tiki Month without falernum, and this is a pretty straightforward, doable recipe if you want to make your own.

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