Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Deconstructed Margarita with Sea Salt Foam

     Charged with submitting an original tequila cocktail recipe to Cheers magazine and as my first idea for my entry into a cocktail competition for the upcoming San Antonio Cocktail Conference, I somehow created this drink.
     It consists of an ice sphere made of fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and water.  The mold was courtesy of Makers Mark.  The tequila chosen was Dulce Vida's 100% organic reposado.  And instead of a salted rim, I decided to make a sea salt foam to place on top of the drink.  So step by step, here it is:
Makers Mark Ice Sphere Mold
      Using the mold shown above, I filled it with water and then pured that into a measuring cup to determine as total liquid I would need.  The mold holds 1.75 cups.  So for my mold I mixed :
  • 1 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of agave nectar
  •  1/4 cup water .  
 Make sure to strain the lime juice before pouring into the mold.   Once mixed and strained, pour into the mold and place in freezer overnight.   
      Now for the spirit based part of the drink,
  •  2 oz Dulce Vida Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Paulas Texas Orange 
Pour both into your shaker with no ice, stir briefly, and set aside. We're not adding ice because we don't want to dilute the tequila yet.  Our ice sphere will take care of that for us.
     For the Sea Salt Foam topping we're going to take:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp water
 Combine all your ingredients into a chilled mixing bowl.  Using a hand emulsifier, whip all ingredients on the low setting until you have 1-2 inches of foam on top, as pictured below
Making Sea Salt Foam

     Place your ice sphere into a rocks glass, pour the Dulce Vida Tequila and Paulas Texas Orange mixture into the glass.  Using a spoon, skim the foam on top of your rocks glass.  Garnish with a lime twist.
     Since we didn't chill the tequila it will quickly melt the ice sphere and begin to slowly combine your lime juice and agave nectar into your drink.  So it will start out strong and end with a sweeter mellow flavor profile.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Sleepy Hollow

     After the wonderful people at Treaty Oak Rum published my last Rum infusion, they said they were looking forward to the upcoming cocktail that would be created with it.  So after a little bit of time and tinkering, I present "The Sleepy Hollow".  It consist of the Spiced Pumpkin Infused Rum, home made Marshmallow Syrup, and scorching the drink using a Misto can with Fee Brothers Orange Bitters.
The Sleepy Hollow
  • 2 1/2 oz Spiced Pumpkin Infused Rum
  • 1 oz Marshmallow Syrup *
     Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.  Place one jumbo marshmallow in the glass as a floating garnish.  Using a Misto can filled with 2 parts over proof alcohol (151) and 1 part Fee Brothers Orange Bitters and a lighter, scorch the top the martini briefly to release the aromas from the drink and to toast the marshmallow for presentation.  I find that placing a few drops of 151 on the marshmallow will give the flame a bit more life before it burns out in the drink.

     Marshmallow Syrup Recipe:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 7 jumbo marshmallows
Making the Marshmallow Syrup
     You're going to prepare the same way as simple syrup.  Bring the contents to a boil, continuously stirring the marshmallows.  Once at a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Bottle and store it.  Should be good for about 2-3 months.

Spiced Pumpkin Infused Rum

     I have been procrastinating posting this for a few weeks now but here it finally is.  Back at the beginning of October I had decided to try a seasonal infusion and what instantly came to mind would be something involving pumpkins.  So after a bit of culinary reading on what to pair it with I eventuality settled on starting a spiced pumpkin infusion.  I chose to go with a silver rum and let the spices alter it since we all know spiced rum is quite delicious.
     As for my rum selection, I settled upon Treaty Oak Rum, whose distillery is out in Austin, TX.  Now I went with Treaty Oak because I find that the flavor profile from their rum is a tad bit sweeter and smoother than most rums.  Maybe because they use all Texas ingredients?
Spiced Pumpkin and Marshmallow Infused Rum
     So here are the prep instructions for the pumpkin using a 750ml bottle of Treaty Oak Rum:
 Take a whole pumpkin and cut into quarters(we'll only be using half of it).  Peel your pumpkin quarters and then cube into 1"x1" pieces.  Place into a large bowl and add 1tbsp of vanilla extract and sprinkle both cinnamon and nutmeg on top of cubes.  Mix it all together.  Now take 5-6 whole cloves, crush them, and place into a saute pan along with the pumpkin cubes.  Briefly saute until golden brown and then allow to cool.  Once cooled, place into an airtight jar along with a handful of jumbo marshmallows and let sit for at least 2 weeks, tasting periodically to gauge flavor.  Once the infusion has reached the taste you prefer, strain with cheesecloth and re bottle.  Note that you may occasionally need to shake the bottle before using as some spices may settle to the bottom of the glass.

Bubblegum Infused Vodka

     This idea was conjured up solely for a friends party, just something to use as a sweeter without having to worry about mixing multiple ingredients every time for each round of shots.  Bubblegum being a flavor most people enjoy and sweet enough to be able to mask most of the alcohol burn on its own without needing to add anything.  So it ends up being one of the easiest infusions I've ever done and fairly quick compared to past infusions that have taken over 2 weeks.  Without further ado, here is the recipe:

(2) 1lb bags of individually wrapped Double Bubble bubblegum.

Bubblegum Infused Vodka
     That's it.  Just unwrap each piece of gum and place in your container.  I used a 1.75 liter bottle of Enchanted Rock vodka for 2 pounds of bubblegum and let it sit for about 5 days.  Run it through a cheesecloth/mesh strainer combo and bottle it back up.  Taste just like vodka with damn near no burn.  Great for a straight chilled shot.
     We also later found out that you can mix it with a little bit of Ginger Ale and a splash of cranberry juice, chilled and strained into a martini glass with a bubblegum flavored Pop Rocks rim for an excellent martini.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Reilly Margarita

After finally bottling the Kiwi/Pineapple/Strawberry tequila infusion(found here), I decided it was time to make something of it. The first thing that came to mind was a margarita since it was, after all, a tequila.  It also gave me an excuse to play with a bottle of "prickly pear cactus syrup" that I stumbled upon at my favorite liquor store.
     With plenty of fresh lime juice to use, I set out mixing some bizarre ingredients into a few different drinks with no real success, besides a slight buzz.  It took me a while before I finally came up with something truly fantastic and named it after a friend and fellow tequila fan:

The Reilly Margarita:
2 oz Infused Tequila
3/4 oz Paula's Texas Orange Liqueur (or Cointreau/Triple Sec)
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Agave Nectar
1-2 Dashes of Cheri's Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup

Throw all ingredients into your shaker and shake well.  Strain into your glass with ice.  Garnish with a lime twist.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Tequila and Vodka Summer Infusions

     To me, the best part about planning a party is planning the drinks to serve at that party.  Gives me a chance to be creative and show off a bit instead of serving 151 punch and jello shots.  So with an upcoming outdoor party, I had to think of lighter, broad palette pleasing ingredients.  Which naturally made me think of easily attainable fresh fruits: strawberries, citrus, kiwi's, and sugary pineapple.  Vodka Infusion was a given and I also thought to try another Tequila Infusion (this being only my second tequila attempt after a pepper/mango infusion previously).       So after a 2 part stop, liquor and grocery store, I decided on Camarena Tequila(100% Blue Agave) and Local Texas Vodka Enchanted Rock along with my ingredients consisting of a whole pineapple, 6 kiwis, a little over a pound of strawberries, fresh cherries, a few Texas oranges, 2 peaches, 1 cantaloup, and a handful of lemons.

Strawberries, Kiwis, and Pineapples oh my!
     As I always say, "Lets start with Tequila first".  I picked one  750ml bottle of Camarena Reposado(Rested) Tequila to use, based on personal taste and the fact that the liquor store was out of Herradura.
     Quick lesson for those that are unaware of tequila types: There are essentially 4 types of tequila.  1. Blanco(white), which is either un-aged or stored in steel or neutral oak barrels for no more than 2 months, and then bottled immediately, resulting in its clear color.  2. Reposado(rested), which is barrel aged for at least two months but no longer than 1 year in oak barrels.  3. Anejo(aged), which is also barrel aged for at least 1 year but no more than 3 years.  This is my favorite kind.  4.  Extra Anejo, which is aged for 3-5 years in oak barrels as well.  Extra Anejo was introduced in 2006 by the NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana) after the "Patron Explosion" to establish an ultra premium tequila brand.  Another type of "tequila" is refered to as Joven(young) or Mixto's.  These are usually your cheap tequilas that are only 51% agave and the other 49% usually consisting of both glucose and fructose sugars, which explains the horrible, horrible tequila hangover I'm sure we all experienced our freshmen year of college.
     But I digress.  Back to our recipe for the infusion.  We're going to start with about a pound of fresh strawberries, 6 kiwis, and one whole pineapple.  Rinse all your produce and place the pineapple in your fridge upside down for 10-15 minutes.  This allows for the sugar that has settled to the bottom of the pineapple to drip back through the whole fruit.  While thats happening, cut the green tops off your strawberries and cut them into slices.  Cut the ends off the kiwis, remove the brown skin, and cut into slices as well.  Take your pineapple out of the fridge and remove the top/bottom/outside skin/core.  We'll only be using about half of the pineapple so just eat the rest or save for later.  Place all produce in your airtight jar and fill with your tequila so it looks like this:
     Allow to sit for 4-5 days and then strain back into your bottle of choice using a mesh strainer and some cheesecloth to remove all food particles and enjoy.

     Now for the vodka.  For our fruit we're going to cut 3 oranges, 3 lemons, 5 strawberries, and 2 skinned peaches into slices.  Throw in 2 handfuls of fresh and destemmed cherries along with half of a whole cantaloup with the outside skin cut off.  Place everything in an airtight jar and then dump your vodka on it so it looks something like this:

     You can let this sit for up to a week, just taste it everyday to follow it as the infusion progresses.  You have to make sure the pith (white stuff between the skin and fruit) doesn't overpower your infusion with its bitter taste.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Mixology Monday

     This upcoming monday (May 16th) marks another Mixology Monday cocktail challenge, "Flores de Mayo – Floral Cocktails".  This will also mark my first entry for Mixology Monday!  This month they have a wonderful host in Dave at The Barman Cometh. In preparation, I started a Tomato and Basil Infused Vodka to be used. Now that it's ready, it's time to start the actual drink.  Since I've been on a Moscow Mule kick recently, I wanted to try my own variation on this classic cocktail.  I already need to use Vodka, Lime Juice, and Ginger Beer but I needed to add a floral ingridient to the mix and I finally choose homemade Hibiscus Grenadine.  I used Jeffrey Morgenthaler's recipe and just threw in a handful of Hibiscus leaves to let them steep.  It came out very well.
Making the Hibiscus Grenadine

     The Tomato Basil vodka I let sit for 3 1/2 days before I thought the taste was ready.  Side Note: We tried using the left over tomatoes to make Salsa, absolute disaster.  The basil overpowered everything and anyone from Texas will tell you basil does not belong in good salsa.  So with everything made and ready it was time to experiment for a while before I came up with my new cocktail:

"The Mule From The Alamo"
  • 1.5 oz of Tomato/Basil Infused Vodka
  • 1 Bar spoon of Hibiscus Grenadine
  • Lime juice from half of a fresh lime
  • Fill with Ginger Beer
The Mule From The Alamo
The Mule From The Alamo
     Fill a shaker with ice and combine the Infused Vodka, Hibiscus Grenadine, and lime juice.  Shake and empty into a rocks glass.  Fill rest of glass with ginger beer.  Garnish with the squeezed lime half.

     The basil and ginger match very well together while the Hibiscus Grenadine adds a subtle sweet note at the end.