Labnaha cocktail

  

 

I have been remiss with this blog, due to personal issues and, amazing to me, an unexpected treat: a trip to Mexico last month, to attend my niece’s wedding. Thanks to her and her husband’s generosity, we had a marvellous week of pampering at a lovely resort on the Riviera Maya, including a catamaran ride, a tour of the Mayan ruins at Tulum, and, most magical of all, a swim in a cenote. This drink reminds me of the amazing colours and tastes of that magical week. “Labna ha” is Mayan for “holy water,” which we were told is sort of a generic way to refer to all cenotes. Swimming in the cenote was easily the most magical thing I have ever done; if you get a chance, please take the plunge (literally and figuratively).

  • 1 1/2 oz tequila (100% agave)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice, fine strained
  • 1/2 oz orange juice, fine strained
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz blue Curaçao 
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc

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

Kiwi Ghost cocktail



I choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by avoiding green beer and enjoying a decidedly green cocktail. This is a variation on a Green Ghost, incorporating kiwi fruit. 

  • Kiwi fruit
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz green chartreuse 
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau

Muddle the pulp and juice of a kiwi fruit with 1/4 oz lime juice. Add ice to the shaker and then add the gin, chartreuse and Cointreau. Shake until the tin is frosty. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with kiwi berries, if you can find them. They are delicious!

Alta Vista Old Fashioned

Call me old fashioned!

It’s Mixology Monday time again and, as usual, I can’t wait for the deadline to experiment with the theme. This month we were challenged by Laura of Sass & Gin to come up with a newfangled Old Fashioned:

The Old Fashioned is the original “cock tail,” dating to the early 1800′s. In this humble bartender’s opinion, it is the pater familias of all other drinks, and it has taken its place as such in the recent cocktail revival. We have seen many variations of the Old Fashioned (i.e. Mayahuel’s Oaxaca Old Fashioned, PDT’s Benton’s Old Fashioned) and the resurgence of similar cocktails (i.e. the Sazerac). The bitters market has exploded over the last decade, with more flavor profiles than ever before, and with a more health-conscious public, your local grocery store is likely to carry a selection of sugars to play with (agave, coconut sugar, turbinado, etc). So, here’s the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I’m challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!

I had previously made a blood orange old fashioned and since it is still blood orange season, my thoughts drifted that way again. But things took a bit of an odd turn when I found finger limes in a produce store today. These small, not terribly attractive fruits, when cut in two and squeezed, produce tiny pearls (juice vesicles) that pack a big tart citrus wallop when you bite into them. So I decided to add a bit of lime juice and to throw in the pearls for good measure. So basically this is a riff on a Canadian old fashioned, which uses Canadian whisky, a triple sec and lemon juice.

So here we go:

  • Sugar cube
  • Dillon’s Bitter Lemon bitters
  • Blood orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry
  • 2 oz Canadian whisky
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Optional: finger lime pearls

In a chilled old fashioned glass, soak the sugar cube in the bitters and muddle with the blood orange slice and maraschino cherry.  Fill glass with ice cubes and add the whisky, Cointreau, lime juice and finger lime pearls if using. Stir well.

Note that the finger lime pearls will sink to the bottom; when you encounter one, bite it to release its flavour.

The round-up of old fashioneds!

Mixology Monday

Sass & Gin

Oranje Boven cocktail

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The name means “Netherlands on top” and is the rallying cry of Dutch football (soccer) fans, as well as an old song that occasionally gets a humorous treatment. Orange is very much on top in this grown-up, less sweet treatment of a creamsicle.

1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz clear vanilla syrup

Dutch Redhead

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My late mom, who passed away on this date in 2002, was a Dutch war bride with what she called “fire engine red” hair. She lived in Canada far longer than she lived in the Netherlands, but retained a distinctive accent and a way of mangling words that we affectionately called “Dinglish.” What was normal and good about my upbringing was due to her. I miss her lots.

1 1/2 oz young Genever gin
2 oz sour cherry juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
Generous dash of lemon bitters

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Mixology Monday challenge: Pennywort cocktail

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2 oz pennywort drink
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz simple syrup

I felt I had to take part in this week’s Mixology Monday challenge because “the Unknown” is really my favourite approach to cocktails, and my favourite way to indulge this is to grab some hitherto undiscovered (by me at least) taste in an ethnic grocery store. Some of my luckier discoveries using this method have been calamansi juice and peanut punch.

I have to admit, I chickened out of making a cocktail with the swallow nest beverage I bought at the local Asian market, when I realized it was not a euphemism. Maybe next time. Luckily I had bought some other new-to-me tastes, including this pennywort drink.

I won’t lie: this is not my best cocktail. Or even second best. Or third. Or top 200. Pennywort is clearly an acquired taste. It’s sort of like old grass clippings with a little spinach water thrown in. However, my mom would have said “waste not, want not”. I cut it with some Cointreau and lime and a touch of simple syrup. It does have an exotic taste. And the colour could very well pass for golden, in the dark with a strong light behind it.

 Here is a round-up of all the “unknown” cocktails in this month’s MXMO

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http://mixologymonday.com/

http://www.abarabove.com/mixology-monday-lxxxix-announcement/

Big Black Mariah

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“Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Mariah,
Here comes the big black Ford.”
Tom Waits, “Big Black Mariah,” Rain Dogs

2 oz Dark Horse Canadian whisky
1 oz wild blueberry juice (unsweetened)
1/2 oz Cointreau

Shake over ice and strain into a rocks glass; serve over ice.