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Tag: plymouth-gin

Zodiac Cocktail #1: Seeing Red

Zodiac Cocktail #1: Seeing Red

I’m very excited to introduce a new series of cocktails that I’ll be posting on Wednesdays based on the signs of the zodiac! We’re currently in Aries which runs from March 21 to April 20, an appropriate place to start since it’s considered the first astrological sign. It’s symbolized by the  golden ram of mythology whose fleece was sought after by many, and eventually found by Jason and the Argonuats. Who knew?? I’ll bet the Aries out there, who like to think they know everything I might add, were unaware that their ram was so

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The Lemon Blueberry Buckle Cocktail

The Lemon Blueberry Buckle Cocktail

When I was growing up and it was blueberry season, my mom would make a dessert called a blueberry buckle. I no longer have the original recipe because we lost it somewhere along the way, but it was very similar to other blueberry buckles that I’ve been able to find online. The batter had lemon peel in it and there was a brown sugar cinnamon spice topping that finished the whole thing off. Prime time for blueberries in NJ runs the entire month of July right into the first week of

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Friday Musings: You have to know your strong side.

Friday Musings: You have to know your strong side.

In football, the term strong side refers to the side of the offensive line (left or right) that has one more player on it. It’s considered to be the better direction to run toward because there will be more blocking for the running back, and therefore more holes in the defense. I love football, but I don’t often think of it as being a metaphor for life, although I know many people who feel as though it is! The idea of the strong side, however, is something in which I can find deeper meaning. When we’ve

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Peychaud’s Bitters: A taste of New Orleans that’s essential to your home bar.

Peychaud’s Bitters: A taste of New Orleans that’s essential to your home bar.

In terms of building your home bar, there are 3 different bitters that are definitely must-haves. Yesterday we talked about orange bitters, which fall into both the lifting and the binding categories (as defined by Death & Co in NYC). This means that they can elevate and brighten the flavors in a cocktail, as well as bring together disparate ingredients into a more harmonious whole. The second of the 3 essentials is Peychaud’s, which were binding bitters created in the early 19th century by Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a New Orleans Apothecary owner who claimed that his bitters could cure any digestive ailment. Eventually he began mixing them into drinks that he made for his friends containing brandy, bitters, sugar, and water. This is a guy after my own heart! His drink became the basis for the Sazerac which is one of the most famous classic cocktails of all time, and the one which is most often associated with Peychaud’s bitters. Like many other aspects of the craft cocktail world, Peychaud’s is gaining popularity once again as modern bartenders discover innovative ways to use its complex and aromatic flavor in their drinks.

The taste profile of Peychaud’s is described as containing elements of licorice, saffron, citrus peel, vanilla, nuts, anise, cherry, nutmeg, clove, and caramel, among others. Does that seem like a lot going on to you? It does to me too. My personal impression is that the anise/licorice flavor is definitely front and center, followed by a bit of fruit and finishing up with some cloves and nutmeg. The drink that I chose to make to help us gain an understanding of Peychaud’s was not the Sazerac, but a modern cocktail from Death & Co. called Light and Day. When I looked at the recipe for this drink I found the combination of ingredients to be a bit unusual. Gin and maraschino liqueur work well together in many cocktails, but Yellow Chartreuse is more typically paired with darker spirits, and lemon and lime are normally gin’s go-to dance partners, not orange. I was very intrigued and I assumed that the Peychaud’s was going to play a major role in bringing these different elements together. I made the drink without the bitters first, just as I did yesterday. When I tasted it I was hit by the Chartreuse first, and then the gin. There was a bit of harshness and I felt like the Maraschino liqueur and the orange juice were almost completely lost. All of the elements were there but they tasted broken apart and out of proportion to one another. I added the 4 dashes of Peychaud’s (which is a decent amount) and the same miracle that happened with yesterday’s Elder Fashion occurred again today. Suddenly I had a cocktail in front of me. Chartreuse is not a shy spirit, but it was now reined in so that it could play nicely with the gin. The Maraschino liqueur came through with a subtle sweetness and the orange juice suddenly made perfect sense. In addition to binding the ingredients together in this drink, and smoothing it out, the Peychaud’s also contributed its own spicy anise and citrus flavor, which elevated the drink even further.

Once again, I can’t stress enough that the best way to begin to understand what a particular ingredient brings to the table is to taste the drink without it first. This seems to work exceptionally well with bitters because they play such a specific role in bringing cocktails into balance. When a recipe calls for them and they are absent, it becomes very clear that the drink is missing something. You can certainly take my word for it but if you can experience it firsthand it’s even better!

Light and Day from Alex Day, Death & Co. New York

2 oz Plymouth Gin
½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
¼ oz Maraschino liqueur (I used Luxardo)
¼ oz orange juice
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters*

Place all the ingredients into a mixing glass and fill ⅔ full with ice. Stir using a long-handled bar spoon for 30-45 seconds or until vey cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish. Enjoy!

*Death & Co. makes their house Peychaud’s bitters from 2 parts Peychaud’s and 1 part Bitter Truth Creole bitters. Again, another intriguing combination to try.

Boxing Day 2016: Plum Pudding in a glass

Boxing Day 2016: Plum Pudding in a glass

For as far back as I can remember the day after Christmas has been one of my favorite days. The holiday itself was always so incredibly hectic, with its flurry of wrapping paper and piles of boxes and toys, places to go and people to visit. There just was never enough time to really appreciate everything. It was such fun to wake up on the 26th and come downstairs to go through all my presents again. The only thing better than that was spending the rest of the day enjoying them. Later when I had kids, it made me smile to watch them do the same thing. Somewhere along the way I learned that the official name for December 26th was Boxing Day, a holiday celebrated throughout the U.K. I remember immediately picturing proper British gentleman donning boxing gloves and stepping into the ring to resolve their differences, which of course was not the case. The exact meaning of the name seems to be up for some debate, but there are 2 widely popular theories. The first is that the 26th was traditionally a day off for British servants and the day when they received presents from their masters. A Christmas Present in Britain is called a Christmas Box; hence the term Boxing Day. The second theory is that December 26th was the day when collection boxes for the poor would be opened that had been placed in the churches on Christmas day. In either case Boxing Day is the day when British people visit those people they may have missed seeing on Christmas itself for food, drink, and merriment.

To create a cocktail to commemorate this holiday, I decided to turn to some traditional British recipes for inspiration. I came across one for Plum Pudding that had spices, honey, citron, plums, and dried fruits like raisins and currants in it. This was definitely something I could work with! I chose Plymouth gin as my base spirit because of its milder flavor and slightly lower alcohol content, and because it is so unequivocally British. My next thought was to add in some fruitiness so I went with Pimm’s No. 1, which is also very British, and always makes me think of a fruit cup in a glass. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram was calling my name for the spiciness and the deeper flavors of the dried fruits. Although it’s Jamaican, it’s not so much of a stretch since Jamaica was under British rule until they gained their independence in 1962. For the citrus element I went with fresh lemon juice, and to add some sweetness I used a 1: 1 honey syrup and some vanilla paste. I received a bottle of Fee Brothers Plum bitters in my Christmas stocking so they were a perfect fit for the bitter component of the drink. An egg white for some frothiness and Turbinado sugar and grated allspice as a garnish finished this cocktail up perfectly. I wish you a Happy Boxing Day! I hope you spend it exactly as you’d like to, whether that entails relaxing with family and friends, swimming the English channel, or doing just a bit of fox hunting!

Boxing Day 2016

1½ oz Plymouth gin*
¾ oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
½ oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
3 dashes Fee Brothers plum bitters
¼ oz honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part hot water)
1 egg white (or 1 oz vegan equivalent like chick pea liquid)
Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) and grated allspice for garnishing

Add all the ingredients (except for the garnish) and shake vigorously without ice. Add the ice and shake again. Strain into a cocktail coupe or a goblet and garnish with sugar and grated allspice. Enjoy!

*I was deliberately looking for a milder gin here because I wanted the St. Elizabeth’s to really be the star. If you’d like more of a gin presence, feel free to substitute Beefeater or Tanqueray, both equally British!