Spring Sprung Mocktail


So… a major hiatus on the cocktail front. My husband has end stage lung disease and we are waiting for a transplant. In the meantime he has had to quit drinking booze, and I joined him on the wagon. It was not hard to quit, but it is hard to wait. We have been waiting since last fall, and now Spring has come again, and with it the urge to make yummy drinks. 

  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime, fine strained
  • 1 jigger mango nectar
  • 1 jigger lemon iced tea

Shake well over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Charge with San Pellegrino limonata.

MacLaren Street Cocktail


I have been neglecting this blog due to family health issues and, recently, getting ready for an office move. My company has been working out of a Victorian house on MacLaren Street in Centretown, Ottawa, but it was no longer meeting our needs. We are moving to more conventional office space that is downtown and very suitable, but losing the character – the stained glass, fireplaces, staircase and windows that actually open. This was our last full week in the MacLaren location, which we will miss. 

The whole time I have been doing this blog I have been working weekdays in this unique space. To commemorate the occasion here is a cocktail with blood orange juice, because it’s that time of year, and a few things that play nicely with it.

  • 1 oz pisco
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 1/2 oz blood orange juice, strained
  • 1/2 oz orgeat (almond syrup)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Galliano

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Pêche et gingembre

You know the drill – shake well over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Sorry about the photo quality or lack thereof; I was not going to blog this and then my hubby told me he liked it. Asian fruit vinegar drinks are my secret weapon these days!

Apple Feni cocktail 


I like to fish and I like to drink cocktails, so when I saw a fish-shaped spirit bottle at our local liquor emporium, on sale no less, I had to have it. I then read up on feni, which is a liquor made in Goa, India from cashew apples, the fruit of the more famous (around here, anyway) nut. It has a very strong taste and aroma, and I thought for a cocktail that I would lighten it with apple. Even with the added apple flavour, the nut taste comes through. The liquor I used is called Fish and Feni; apparently fried fish and feni go together like a horse and carriage.

  • 1 oz cashew apple feni
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz apple vinegar drink (purchased, as I did, in an Asian grocery, or you can make an apple shrub)
  • 1/4 oz apple syrup (purchased, or recipe here)

Shake well over ice and strain into cocktail glasses.

Caramelized Pineapple Mai Tai

  
Don’t pay the ransom – I’ve escaped! I know I have not been posting cocktails on this blog for awhile. It’s summer and that means other stuff is getting done. But it has been hot, and my mind went to classic hot weather cocktails like the Mai Tai. It gets a bad wrap because of tiki chic and paper umbrellas, but it is a great summer drink. I heard on the Mixology Talk podcast about a Mai Tai made with caramelized pineapple purée, and I have been dreaming about it since then. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for the pineapples and just whizzed them in my blender, syrup included. Feel free to order the purée though if you are in the U.S., which I am not. I used two kinds of rum, orgeat syrup, Cointreau, lime juice and ginger bitters to round out the drink. 

  • 1 oz aged rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 2 heaping teaspoons caramelized pineapple purée
  • Three healthy shakes of Dillon’s ginger bitters

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; strain into a wine glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
   

Vanilla Ice cocktail

 
Not named after that guy, but after the ingredients. Really. I usually try to avoid making cocktails with difficult to obtain ingredients, but I am quite taken with this ice syrup. It has a lot of possibilities. This is a light refreshing summer drink.

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Charge with about 1 ounce of sparkling water. Serve with a pretentiously large ice cube.

Ice ice baby! (Okay I had to do it)
 

Mixology Monday cocktail: North of 7 Rhubarbian

 
I have been on vacation and neglecting this blog, but it is Mixology Monday time again,  and the theme this month has inspired me to get out and about in my own city. The theme is “hometown hooch” and was set by Stuart Putney of the Putney Farm blog:

One of the best recent developments in the world of cocktails and spirits is the reemergence of regional, craft distillers. And we say “reemergence” because 100+ years ago, before the twin scourges of Prohibition and virtual monopolization “industrialization,” distilling was often a truly local endeavor. Not so long ago, if you wanted some booze, it was often made in your neighborhood and for the tastes of the locals. Sadly, for a few generations, that wasn’t the case… But, quite happily, those days are back… There are literally hundreds of local and regional distillers making some seriously tasty spirits… and now is the time for our monthly online cocktail party to send them some love.

Your quest is simple. Create a new cocktail, or refashion a classic, using your favorite “hometown hooch” (and we can expand the definition of “hooch” to include spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs and beer)… A little local flavor or history on your “hometown hooch” is very welcome.

Now, not very long ago this would have consigned me to a beer-based drink, but luckily, a distillery opened in Ottawa in 2013. Thanks to MXMO I paid a visit to North of 7 this week. Located in a very unprepossessing strip mall, North of 7 may be a no nonsense enterprise but is no industrial hooch factory. Co-owner and head distiller Greg Lipin explained that they wanted to create some good local spirits, affordably and without hype. Inspired by rock-climbing trips to Kentucky, he and partner Jody Miall make vodka, gin, rum, and have a bourbon-profile Canadian whisky in cask that they expect to be ready in 1 1/2 years. The name of the distillery is inspired by where Greg’s cottage in located, near Calabogie north of highway 7, west of Ottawa. I asked about the name of their Illuminati vodka, which is the basis of their juniper-forward gin, and he revealed that it is popular with local “secret” societies. But my interest was mainly with their Triple-Beam gin, named after the scale they use to weight the botanicals, which are locally sourced to the extent possible (we are sadly short of local black pepper!)

  
And so to the cocktail. Even more local than the hooch is my back garden, where I have a bumper crop of rhubarb. I made a rhubarb syrup this week as well, and decided to do a gin-based cocktail to celebrate late spring. The intense botanicals of the Triple Beam work well here; since the only place this gin is currently available is at the distillery, you can substitute another juniper-heavy gin.

  • 1 1/2 oz Triple Beam gin
  • 1 oz rhubarb syrup (recipe here)
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake ingredients well over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Here is the round-up of local hootch cocktails!

Mixology Monday