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. 

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
 
 

On Some Faraway Beach (improved cocktail)

  

  

In September 2012 I created this drink in honour of Blair’s show of new paintings, and for the Brian Eno tune that inspired the name of the series. I was not really satisfied with it at the time, though, because the drizzled colours sank quickly and the pretty painting effect was lost. However, thanks to the Mixology Talk podcast, I realized that egg whites could save the day. Chris of A Bar Above tested powdered egg white in cocktails and reported they are a good substitute, so if you are concerned about salmonella that is a fine way to go. If you are using powdered egg white (needs to be pure powdered egg white, not meringue powder), reconstitute it prior to using (2 tsp egg white powder in 1 oz water = one egg white). The egg white gives the drink a silky mouthfeel, plus it lets you enjoy the abstract image right to the bottom of the glass.

  • 1 oz Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum
  • 1 oz mango nectar
  • 1/2 oz passionfruit juice
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 5 drops Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 egg white or reconstituted equivalent

Pour ingredients into a shaker without ice and dry shake to incorporate well. Add ice to the shaker and shake until the outside is frosty. Pour into a cocktail glass, then drizzle with 1/2 tsp Blue Curacao and 1/2 tsp real pomegranate grenadine in an abstract pattern.

Grenadine is easy to make at home; the colour and flavour are far more intense than the Roses brand you commonly see in stores. Here is a video on how to make it.

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

Nunavik

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A special new gin celebrating the Canadian North, Ungava employs unique botanicals. This is a good review of Ungava. I normally do not like to base cocktails on a hard to locate product, but I am making an exception for this. And I am using another, even more obscure ingredient too, because cloudberry is one of the botanicals in the gin and one of my favourite flavours.

2 oz Ungava gin
1/8 oz Lillet Blanc
1/8 oz Rodrigues cloudberry liqueur (you can substitute a little bit of IKEA SYLT HJORTRON cloudberry jam dissolved in the gin instead)