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    Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

    A Lot To Digestif

    A little bit of something to look forward to after dinner.

    With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, there is a lot of eating about to happen. One of the more underrated aspects of drinking is the lost art of the digestif, a slightly sweet drink of herbs steeped in alcohol. Digestifs are considered to help with digestion, something to do with increasing the production of digestive fluids after a large meal. But even if this is just a wives-tale, the ritual of drinking a delicious little something after dinner is a worthwhile process.

    Chow recently had one of their great articles on making digestifs. I have made a couple of these before but i liked the idea of making a bunch at once, so I decided to give a few of their recipes a shot.

    Basil Digestif
    • 15 Large Basil Leaves
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Place the basil leaves in a 1 quart jar with the Everclear and let it sit for 6 days at room temperature. After 6 days remove the leaves and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Meyer Lemon Digestif
    • 8 Meyer Lemons
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Peel the lemons in wide strips trying to get as little of the white pith as possible. Place the peels and Everclear in a 1 quart jar for 12 days at room temperature. After 12 days remove the peels and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Mandarin Orange Digestif
    • 5 Mandarin Oranges
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Peel the Oranges in wide strips trying to get as little of the white pith as possible. Place the peels and Everclear in a 1 quart jar for 6 days at room temperature. After 6 days remove the peels and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Update:I posted on how they turned out here. One thing I found was that the above recipes were very sweet, sweeter than anyone in my party could enjoy. I reduced the amount of simple syrup from 1.5 cups to 1 cup in the meyer lemon and mandarin and in the case of the basil (since it doesn’t have such a citrusy tang to it) i would reduce it to .75 cups of simple syrup.

    The Delicious Pisco Sour

    The national drink of Peru.

    It seems like I have become obsessed with egg whites in cocktails in the last 6 months, and the Pisco Sour is one of my favorites. For those of you not familiar with Pisco, it is a lightly aged brandy from South America which is a bit like a surprisingly smooth cousin to grappa.

    This drink is a sour, which is a type of cocktail that balances sweet and sour (other drinks in this family are the whiskey sour, the margarita and the sidecar). The Pisco Sour is a little more sour than sweet, and the pisco and angostura add a richness to it that is pretty unique if you haven’t had pisco before. My recipe replaces the standard simple syrup with agave nectar to add a little more depth to the drink.

    I love this drink, but for a lot of people the egg white freaks them out. There has been a lot of discussion about how to use egg whites, but the generally accepted wisdom is that the only really dangerous part of an egg in terms of salmonella is on the outside of the shell (and perhaps in the yolk) but not in the white. If you are really paranoid you can buy pasteurized egg whites at the store which have the added advantage of not having to deal with cracking and deyolking a bunch of eggs.

    Pisco Sour
    • 2 1/4 oz ounces pisco
    • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 ounce agave nectar
    • 1 Dash Angostura bitters
    • 3/4 ounce egg white

    Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker without ice and shake for 15 seconds. This helps emulsify the egg whites into a foamier texture. open the shaker and add ice and shake some more for another 30 seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finally, drip 4 drops of angostura bitters on top of the foam and drag a toothpick through the drops to make a pattern.

    Pecan Bourbon

    Two of the worlds great flavors collide in a taste explosion!

    You remember in grade school when you first learned about plate tectonics and how all of the continents shifted about emerging from one single land called pangea? After i learned about that I spent weeks looking at maps and thinking about how obvious it was that south america and africa fit together. Well that is how i felt the first time i encountered bourbon and pecans. The woody flavor of the pecans and the caramel-y smokey flavors of the bourbon fit together so well it was a wonder i hadn’t thought to put them together before.

    After a recent trip to Death & Co in new york i tried one of their Buffalo Soldiers, which is a pretty simple recipe as shown here at Cocktail Buzz. The drink is great but the most exciting part of the recipe is the pecan bourbon which can have a lot of interesting uses.

    The recipe on cocktail buzz is a good start though it sounds a little like it was just discussed over the bar with some pretty vague measurements like cover the nuts with cayenne. I can speak from experience that you do not want to cover the nuts with cayenne or you will end up with a very spicy concoction. Here’s the version that seemed to work best for me:

    Pecan Infused Bourbon
    • 750 ml Buffalo Trace Bourbon
    • 2 cups Pecans
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp Cayenne

    Soak the pecans in water for 30 minutes and then drain the water out. Lay the nuts out on a baking sheet and sprinkle the salt, pepper and cayenne over the nuts and the place the tray in the oven for at 300. This brings out some of the oils in the nuts and helps the nuts absorb the flavor of the spices. Remove after 20 minutes and let cool. Then place all of the nuts in a bell jar and fill to top with Bourbon. Seal and store for 1 week stirring or shaking each day. When done strain back into the empty bourbon bottle and store in the refrigerator.

    Flora in Oakland

    A new bar in Oakland is setting the tone for great cocktails in the East Bay.

    Got around to going to Flora in oakland a month ago or so, and was really satisfied by the cocktail menu as well as the talent of the bartenders. The bar menu was put together by Eric Adkins who also runs the incredible bar at Slanted Door in the city. There were several drinks that were particularly enjoyable (including the one pictured here that i can’t remember the name of), but i most liked the Filibuster. Food and Wine has the recipe:

    The Filibuster
    • 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
    • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 ounce pure maple syrup
    • Dash of Angostura bitters
    • 1 large egg white
    • Ice
    • 1 lemon twist

    Fill a cocktail shaker with the rye, lemon juice, maple syrup, Angostura bitters and egg white and shake well. Add ice and shake again. Strain the drink into a chilled coupe and garnish with the lemon twist.

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