Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Claret Punch

Claret or another full-bodied wine is needed to make the Claret Punch. This is really a brandy based punch with juices and fruit. The wine provides the "weak" component that spreads the flavor out better. I had this bottle of Michael Sharps merlot that was 10 years old--high time to use it.

You can make the punch for a large number of guests in a punch bowl or pitcher, or work out the single serving possibilities by scaling down the ingredients.

For this, I recommend 1.5 ounces of lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar, 3 ounces of brandy and 1.5 ounces of Cointreau.Then stir in red wine with ice in a wine goblet. For parties of 15-20 people, make the drink like this:
  • Claret or Cabernet Sauvignon (3 bottles)
  • 16 oz. brandy
  • 8 oz. Cointreau
  • 24 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2--1 cup to taste
  • sliced seasonal fruits (oranges, lemons, apples use)
Stir all ingredients except fruits in a large punch bowl. Add a large block of ice and garnish with fruit pieces. 

Banana Rum Frappe

I see where this drink is going. There's something wonderfully tropical about it, this sort of banana rum sour you can do blended or with crushed ice. It is all very refreshing.

I did what I could to avoid that fake creme de banan flavor and to get real banana into the drink. MurLarkey makes an unsweetened banana whiskey from tiny bananas. There's a lot more of a brown sugar or vanilla scent to it and no actual sugar. If you want it, and I suggest you add at least a half teaspoon, you should do it yourself. At least you know your banana flavor is real.

If I were to do this drink again, I'd use more banana whiskey to make the flavor even more intense. Up the proportion to equal parts light rum and MurLarkey.
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1/2  oz. banana liquor (MurLarkey banana whiskey used)
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • fresh banana slices
Combine liquid ingredients in a blender with ice (or with crushed ice in a shaker). Blend or shake quickly but not until smooth and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with banana slices.

Three Stripes Cocktail

Super easy and straight-forward for a Martini/ Bronx Cocktail variation, the Three Stripes is so easy to drink that it is dangerous. Vigorous shaking changes the color of this orange juice drink to a cloudy white, which is awesome! And dry vermouth keeps it from turning into a lollypop.

I've used Battle Standard gin by KO distillery before and it is usually a good call. It is dangerously strong, so it goes a little farther in a cocktail with a lot of low or non-alcoholic ingredients like this.
  • 2 oz. gin (Battle Standard used)
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Beauty Spot

I really liked this cocktail, and I don't usually like juicy drinks. The proportion of gin to orange juice is perfect, and I like that, while there are two dashes of grenadine, the real sweetness comes from the sweet vermouth. And that is a little bitter as well.

So I don't usually drink Hendrick's gin because I think it is slightly overpriced for a gin. There are plenty of New Western style gins out there that do much the same thing for a lot less money. Then again, you pay for advertising and the brand Hendrick's created. And yet it was almost the perfect gin with lots of floral notes and not so much juniper. So Hendrick's fans can rejoice in this cocktail.
  • 2 oz. gin (Hendricks used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 tsp. orange juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Stars And Stripes

This is another Pousse-Cafe layered drink. It is actually one of the easier ones to do and I might recommend it as an introduction to making Pousse-Cafe. That is because the ingredients are all very different and tend to stack with the help of a half-teaspoon measuring spoon.

The problem I had is that the recipe is wrong, and I knew it before I started. To get a red-white-and-blue cocktail for Independence Day or President's day celebration, you need to have the cream in the middle. But cream is fatty and I already knew it was lighter than both other liqueurs that have so much sugar in them. So after trying and failing at the recipe, I did it again in the order shown below. This might make a better drink for Bastille day, but at least it works.
  • 3/4  oz. Cherry Heering
  • 3/4 oz. blue curacao
  • 3/4 oz. half-and-half
Pour each layer carefully over the back of a measuring spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass so that they remain on separate layers. Refrigerate for a half hour before serving.

Halley's Comfort

This drink is pretty gross. It doesn't surprise me to find bad Southern Comfort and peach schnapps cocktail in the New York Bartender's Guide published back in 1997, but it surprises me with just how bad this one is.

The Halley's Comfort is just too sweet. It would be one thing if the Southern Comfort, a peach liqueur, were the sweet part and a stronger whiskey was used. But the worst part is that in stead there's equal parts of peach schnapps. The best you can do is squeeze that lemon wedge into the drink as soon as possible and hope that the acid balances all that peach liqueur.
  • 2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz. peach schnapps
  • sparkling water
  • lemon slice
Pour liqueurs into a Collins glass full of ice. Top with sparkling water and stir gently. Add lemon slice as a garnish. 

Olympic Cocktail

I'm not sure exactly what makes this drink an Olympic Cocktail. I really had fun trying to turn the orange twist into Olympic rings in honor of this years Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Then I found it was much better to use the magic of television. I love this photo. I also love that I found a use for that bottle of Asbach Urbrand I got on the flight home from Munich.
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1 1/2 oz. white curacao
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • orange twist
Combine all ingredients except for the orange twist in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist the orange peel over the glass and drop it in.