December 11, 2015

What I’m Drinking: Sleigh Bells Ring

Ho, ho, ho! This is what Santa drinks to stay warm as he’s delivering the gifts to all you (of age) boys and girls out there. At least the ones that have been good all year. And it’s also a drink that I created for a happening holiday hoe-down at the zesty Zinc recently. If you don’t know (well, why dontcha, first?), Zinc is an art, design, and interiors store in Edmonds, WA, perhaps the finest art, design, and interiors store anywhere ever. EVER! It has (as they say), an eclectically-curated selection that’s truly one-of-kind, and is the best stop if you need gifts. Then, you can also be like Santa, delivering great gifts while having one of these (as long as you aren’t delivering gifts in your car, of course. Don’t be silly.)

Speaking of gifts, I made this the first time with The London No. 1 gin, a small batch beaut made in the heart of London with 12 botanicals, a list including things like juniper (natch), and orange peel, to other more off-the-beaten-gin-path items like bergamot and cassia. All of which means a very individual gin, with layers of flavor. You may want that as a gift for yourself.

Sleigh Bells Ring

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces The London No. 1 gin
1 ounce Strawberry Gold liqueur (See Note 1 below, and this is from Luscious Liqueurs)
1/2 ounce Red Hembarig (See Note 2 below)
2 dashes Fee Brothers cranberry bitters

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the reindeer. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Ho, ho, ho indeed!

Note 1: You should really pick up Luscious Liqueurs, but if you don’t have time today, here’s the recipe for Strawberry Gold, making about two pints. Gently wash 3-1/2 cups fresh strawberries and dry them on towels. When dry, remove the stems from the strawberries (I cut off the top of the strawberries, stems and all, due to the flesh around the stems being often not as sweet as the rest of the strawberry), and any blemished spots. Coarsely chop the strawberries and then add them (you should have 3-1/2 cups here) to a large glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Add 3 cups vodka to the container and stir well. Seal and place in a cool, dry spot, away from the sun. Let it sit, whirling the strawberries around the jar every 3-1/2 days. Add 1-3/4 cups simple syrup and 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stir and reseal. Return it to its spot. Let it sit for two more weeks, whirling the contents every other day. Filter the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Strain through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher, jar, or other easy-pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new layers of cheesecloth into bottles or jars that have good lids (or one large one).

Note 2: Red Hembarig is a raspberry-vinegar syrup that made people very happy in the past. And it will now make you happy, too. To make it, start by briefly muddling two cups raspberries in a bowl, then add 1-1/4 cups apple cider vinegar and stir briefly. Let it sit overnight. Then add the raspberry-vinegar combo plus 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Heat to a simmer and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Take the mix off the heat and let it cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, place it in a refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Then strain the Red Hembarig through a fine strainer. Keep it in the fridge.

September 21, 2012

What I’m Drinking: Roffignac

This drink was named for, and was a favorite of, Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, who escaped the revolutionary neck-chopper in France and went on to become beloved Mayor of New Orleans from 1820 to 1828. He was a hit among the hoi polloi because, among other things, he introduced street lighting, put in the original French Quarter cobblestones, and drank a lot of this drink.

The drink itself, sadly, has gone out of favor in the intervening days and nights. Probably due to a lack of one of its main ingredients: Red Hembarig. I myself, to be honest, when first writing about this drink in Good Spirits, thought one could probably sub in grenadine or some raspberry syrup for this missing German ingredient (and, honestly, you can, but the drink’s not nearly as good—really, if you do, call it something else entirely). But since then I’ve done a bit more research, and read some more research, and now believe that as the German word for raspberry is “himbeere” and that the German word for vinegar is “essig” that the proper way to have this drink is with a raspberry-vinegar concoction. Which isn’t so wacky as it may sound, as the original famous bartender, Jerry Thomas, has three recipes for the same thing in one version of his late 1880s famous Bar-Tenders Guide). And you know what? With the raspberry-vinegar combo, this drink really sings, and is a swell memorial to ol’ Mayor Louis.

Ice cubes

2 ounces Cognac

1/2 ounce Red Hembarig (or some sort of raspberry-vinegar syrup—see Note)

Chilled club soda

1. Fill a highball glass up with ice cubes. Add the cognac and the Red Hembarig-esque syrup. Stir once.

2. Top the glass off with club soda. Stir once again.

A Note: You could definitely get a bit more serious about the aging of raspberries-and-vinegar here. But, in a pinch, this recipe delivers dandy results. Start by muddling two cups raspberries a bit in a bowl, then add a cup of apple cider vinegar, and stir briefly. Let sit for, oh, overnight at least. Then add everything plus 3 cups sugar and 3/4 cup water to a saucepan. Heat to a simmer, let simmer for around 10 minutes, then take off the heat and let it cool completely in the pan. If you have time, let the whole combo sit together overnight in the fridge. Then, strain through a fine strainer (you may need a spoon to push the fun stuff through) and then cheesecloth. Keep in the fridge.

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