MxMo CV, January 25, 2016: Brace Yourself

With December’s theme of Forgiving Cocktails, perhaps instead of asking for mercy, we should toughen up! Well, that wasn’t really what December’s theme was actually about, but January’s weather can often torture many of us in the Northern hemisphere past the Mason-Dixon line. Even those in the South might not feel at ease in skimpy swimsuits given the weather. Those in Brazil and the rest of the Southern hemisphere do get a bye on the idea, but hopefully their imaginations are in action! Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, the good Doctor of the Doc Elliot’s Mixology blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for January 25th is one that will get you thinking about drinks to make the Winter months more bearable. Please read the Doc’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

Now that the holidays are behind us, we get to deal with the rest of winter… that magnificent season of grey skies, blustery winds, freezing sleet and blowing snow.  January is Mixology Monday CV and we’re definitely talking cocktails. Winter usually evokes scenes of roaring fires with glasses or mugs filled with warming liquid fortifying us against the cold and damp. Winter provides the shared universal experience that spans language, geography and the centuries – that moment just before you step out into the cold; to walk to the bus stop, hit the ski slope, shovel the snow or feed the livestock. So what adult beverages can best prepare the body and steel the will for that moment when we  go forth into Winter?

What a great idea given the ice patches that make walking and driving a headache as well as the shoveling that makes for a good backache. True, it does span language and the centuries, but geographies where it is warm will have to either use their imagination and memories or mock us with tropical libations. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or concoct a recipe that gives you the resolve to head out into the cold, then post the recipe, and include a photo and your remarks, on your blog, tumblr, or website. If you lack one of those, feel free to post on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  • Include the MxMo logo in your post plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Doc Elliot’s Mixology sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  • Let the Doctor know about your post by Monday night, January 25th by posting a link to your post on his announcement post or Tweeting at him via @docscocktails with a #MxMo hashtag.

That gives us all two weeks to fire up the tea kettles, mull spices into spirits, and double shake eggs into frothy delights. Want to think Caribbean or Tiki but keep it seasonal, what about a Hot Swizzle or a Hot Zombie? Or perhaps go out shopping for a few vintage Tom & Jerry mugs to break in for this event. Coffee cocktails? Wassails? Double Old Fashioneds filled with 3 fingers of whiskey?I am rather curious to see what your collective genius minds can concoct!

MxMo CIV, December 21, 2015: Forgiving Cocktails

November’s theme got us thinking about precise techniques to get ingredients incorporated including floats, sinks, paints, foams, and rinses. But what about less precise techniques, like the ones that make you declare “Sorrey” like a proper Canadian as you serve it? Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, Dagreb of the Nihil Utopia blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for December 21st is one that will get you thinking about ways of making drink recipes that are less than optimal. Please read Dagreb’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

It could be the antithesis of a drink so delicately structured that even 1/8 oz too much or too little of an ingredient causes a train-wreck. I’m not suggesting all out free-pouring but perhaps you’ve come across a recipe that can roll with the punches of an over/under pour now and again. Perhaps you’re at a ballroom or a hotel and the unenthusiastic and/or fresh-faced (bar) staff doesn’t inspire confidence. They may not know Campari from calamari but If you want a cocktail what do you do?  Order something that can’t go too wrong. A Manhattan? Perhaps a Negroni?… This idea of forgiving cocktails first began for me when one night I swapped the “bottom shelf” for the “top middle shelf” and was delighted by the results. It wasn’t exactly the same but it was delicious none the less! The idea continued with other drinks that welcomed whichever brand I was pouring… Perhaps you’ve made a stinger with Spanish brandy and been pleased with the results? Whatever it may be find or invent a drink you feel is a forgiving cocktail and share the results.
So I wasn’t too far off with the “sorrey” comment, but perhaps it ought to be “sorrey not sorrey (for it is still delicious!).” I know that I have been there at receptions with hourly wage slave bartenders with no or poor sets of tools (rarely a jigger in sight) and questionable skill sets. However, I have scored victory by politely teaching an eager one a new drink like an Algonquin or a Negroni. And I frequently use Spanish brandy at home and at work in Cognac recipes for a fuller flavor, so I think that’s almost too easy of an option. Briefly, here’s how to participate:
  1. Find or create a recipe that fits your concept of a forgiving cocktail. Next, post the recipe and include a photo and your remarks on your blog, tumblr, or website. If you lack one of those, feel free to post on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  2. Include either the MxMo logo in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Nihil Utopia sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  3. Submit a link one of two ways by the end of December 21st: leave a comment on Dagreb’s announcement post or tweet him at @dagreb with hashtag #MxMo.

That gives us all two weeks to figure out what we ought to be forgiven for. And if you want to be forgiven by both Dagreb and Santa, try to get your entries in early, on time, or not too late for Dagreb wants to get the round up post up before Christmas eve.

MxMo CIII, November 16, 2015: Standoffish

With Halloween and October’s spooky theme behind us, it’s time to look ahead to November. Instead of something scary, how about techniques that make drinks more inviting? Well, not necessarily garnishes, but ways of using cocktail ingredients other than just throwing them in the Yarai mixing glass or Boston shaker. Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, Shaun and Christa of the BoozeNerds blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for November 16th is one that will get you thinking about ways of using ingredients outside of the mixing glass through foams, rinses, floats, and sinks. Please read Shaun and Christa’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

Now that we’re into the cold weather, it’s a good time to be bringing out the richer, stronger ingredients for use in cocktails. How to use them in good proportion though, where they speak up but don’t overwhelm? Well, one way is to include them in smaller amounts, perhaps slightly offset from the other ingredients in one way or another. They can introduce themselves at the start or the end of the drink, or shepherd the other components into a cohesive whole, depending on how they are used. Which brings us to this month’s theme: standoffish! We’re looking for cocktails that use at least one non-garnish ingredient that is not stirred or shaken with the others. Rinses, floats, foams? Sure! Mists? Why not? We welcome whatever your creative geniuses can come up with.

A rinse like in a Sazerac, a float that appears in a Fog Cutter, a foam such as an egg white meringue?  A mist? Well, I’ll let you get creative with that one. Missing from that list is a sink like in the elegant 1970s number, the Tequila Sunrise, and I am sure that there are others that can classify like ingredients trapped in ice cubes or that add themselves over time like a Chinese water torture device. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or concoct a recipe that utilizes a standoffish ingredient that makes a big difference to how the drink tastes, then post the recipe, and include a photo and your remarks, on your blog, tumblr, or website. If you lack one of those, feel free to post on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  • Include the MxMo logo in your post plus links back to the Mixology Monday and BoozeNerds sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  • Let Shaun and Christa know about your post by Monday night right before the stroke of midnight, November 16th by posting a link to your post on their announcement post or Tweeting at them via @boozenerds.

That gives us all about 2 weeks to figure out how to incorporate bitters into a foam or add rich tropical flavors that seep out of an iceberg. Maybe some of you will figure out how to hook up a smoker machine to alter the flavors in inventive ways. Quite curious to see what your collective genius minds can concoct!

MxMo CII, October 19, 2015: Spooky Sips

September’s Mixology Monday got us all thinking about the orange that can be a difficult fruit to work with in cocktails for it mutes flavors a bit too much. However, the blogosphere provided plenty of options to extract elegance out of this ingredient including pairing it with coffee, chocolate, and spice as well as utilizing it in one of the most successful categories, Tiki. October’s theme has a lot to do with orange and something to do with Tiki, for the Jackolantern and Rated R Cocktails play a pivotal role. No, it’s not Pumpkin Spice Latté cocktail season here (well, it could be if you think it out) and not necessarily Tiki either. Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, JFL of the Rated R Cocktails blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for October 19th is one that will get you thinking about Halloween and horror. Please read JFL’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

October means Halloween. Halloween means kitschy parties and my favorite classic horror movies on the television. Here on the blog we’ve done tributes to Karloff, Dracula, and of course Vincent Price just to name a few. Tiki is rich with adventurous drinks that call to the terrifying. The Sidewinder’s Fang, the Shrunken Skull, the Shark’s Tooth, and of course the venerable Zombie. However, I am sure there are creepy classics as well. Your challenge for my MxMo of Horrors is to create a terrifying tipple. It could be a drink that just screeches Halloween. Maybe it’s a recipe to honor your favorite horror movie or star. It could be a spooky garnish or petrifying punch. Heck if you wanna make eyeball jello shots, who am I to tell you no. Let your creativity shine, I want to hear the blood curdling screams of your readers as they sip your creepy creations.

So for this theme, it’s not an ingredient necessarily but a name and a feel. Make it spooky but hopefully palatable. Grossness in name and perhaps appearance is one thing, but taste/aroma is another. The Tiki literature has plenty of fine examples, but if you do not want to go that route, there are a smattering of classics to be found and plenty that you can conjure up on your own. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or create a recipe that celebrate all things Halloween and Horror whether a tribute to a scary movie or an use of a spooky garnish. Next, post the recipe and include a photo and your remarks on your blog, tumblr, or website. If you lack one of those, feel free to post on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  2. Include either the classic MxMo logo or the special horror MxMo logo JFL had created for this event in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Rated R Cocktails sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  3. Submit a link one of two ways by the end of October 19th: leave a comment on JFL’s announcement post or tweet him at @RatedRCocktails.

That gives us all 2 weeks to start turning to creepy books and movies, figuring out how to make bloody brain garnishes, and the like. Horror is no joke to JFL, so please spend the time wisely in figuring out how to scare the bejesus out of him!

MxMo CI, September 21, 2015: Orange Juice

With the monumental 100th Mixology Monday out of the way and with me back from Camp Runamok, it’s time to turn our attention to the next 100 events, or at least to the 101st event. One crucial element of cocktails is the citrus fruit. Even in straight spirits drinks, citrus appears in gins, vermouths, bitters, triple secs, and amari. In juice form, there are a lot of lemon and lime drinks and a decent number of grapefruit ones. However, what about the orange? How many drinks past the Blood & Sand, the Monkey Gland, or Fog Cutter can you think of much less enjoyed? Orange juice tends to be difficult to work with and smooths over other flavors a bit too much, but winner recipes are definitely out there as I have put them on menus and made those recipes at home. Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, DJ Hawaiian Shirt of the Spirited Remix blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for September 21st is one that will make you look at Florida’s state fruit and beverage a little closer. Please read DJ’s announcement post, but here is a brief description:

It really irritates me when people dismiss an ingredient.  Whether it’s too ordinary, or difficult, or inconsistent, or overpowering, I can’t help but feel such conclusions are lazy and defeatist.  Your theme this month is “Orange Juice,” an ingredient I too often see derided or ignored when it comes to thoughtful mixology.  Surely an assembly of such mixological brawn as MxMo can find or create a delicious way to mix OJ, right?

For this theme, DJ wants drinks that use orange juice. Not orange liqueurs, blossom waters, or bitters (although they can be there too). And the orange juice has to play a decent role in the drink. DJ was well aware that MxMo 18 was “Orange,” but he insisted and convinced me that this was a completely different beast since the theme allowed anything from twists to bitters, and this was an ingredients rescue theme. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or concoct a recipe that uses orange juice as an ingredient and sizable player in the flavor profile, then post the recipe, and include a photo and your remarks, on your blog, tumblr, or website. If you lack one of those, feel free to post on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  • Include the MxMo logo (either the classic or the MxMo 101 one that DJ created for this event) in your post plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Spirited Remix sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  • Let DJ know about your post by Monday night right before the stroke of midnight, September 21st by posting a link to your post on DJ’s announcement post or emailing him at djhawaiianshirt at gmail dot com.

That gives us all two weeks to start navel gazing and contemplating the wonder that is the orange and its juice. Sure, it might fall flat in the Olympic (in my opinion at least), but there are definitely orange juice-laden delights out there.