MxMo LXXXIV, April 21, 2014: Temperance

March’s theme of “Preserves” came in like a fresh lion and out like a pickled lamb. Speaking of pickled, perhaps not everything should be pickled all the time, including your friend the liver. Wait, isn’t this Mixology Monday after all? Maybe introducing our host for MxMo this month, Scott of the Shake, Strain, & Sip blog, might help to clear things up.

This month’s theme slated for April 21st is one that will get that will get you thinking given the theme of “Temperance.” Please read Scott’s full announcement post with some back history on the “Noble Experiment” and soda shoppes, but here is a brief description:

While many of us today think of overly sweet and unimaginative uses of fruit juice combinations when we hear of nonalcoholic beverages, there is a growing resurgence and movement of creating real craft “mocktails” in cocktail bars around the world… As such, this month’s theme challenges you to create unique craft “mocktails” only limited by your imagination.  Perhaps you have an abundance of that homemade lavender syrup sitting in your fridge?  Maybe you’ve been thinking about creating a non-alcoholic version of your favorite cocktail.  Or maybe you just wanted an excuse to mix up an Angostura Phosphate you saw in Imbibe.  Oh yes, non-potable bitters are fair game here since they are legally classified as nonalcoholic in the states.  However, if the Teetotalist inside of you won’t allow it, you can go without them.  Cheers!

Have a soda recipe you’ve been reeling to try? Or a cool syrup that would satisfy all even without the booze kick? How about some frozen dairy or whipped up egg libation? Nice. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or create a recipe that somehow fits the definition of a Temperance drink (devoid of spirits, liqueurs, and potable bitters) and then post the recipe, including 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 the MxMo logo in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Shake, Strain, & Sip 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 to the announcement post on Shake, Strain, & Sip, or send an email to sjdiaz21 (at) gmail (dot) com with Mixology Monday in the subject. Do all this before midnight, Monday night the 21st of April.

That gives everyone about two weeks to start looking around. Perhaps dig up a PDF or reprint of Bertha E. Stockbridge’s seminal work, What to Drink: The Blue Book of Beverages; Recipes and Directions for Making and Serving Non-alcoholic Drinks for all Occasions, or look to the mocktail section of the Food & Wine: Cocktail book series for some recipes. Remember, there is nothing to mock about mocktails. There are times that many of us are the designated driver, on medication, knocked up, or taking a breather for one reason or another. Indeed, I can’t wait to see what your creativity or resourceful research will bring up! And I wouldn’t mind if one of you pays tribute to Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers while we’re at it…

MxMo LXXXIII, March 24, 2014: Preserves

February’s Mixology Monday had us focusing on citrus fruit and other things that were tart with MxMo: Sours. But what about when that fruit isn’t local or in season? Should you neglect those flavors or can you find a way to incorporate them into your drinks? Maybe introducing our host for MxMo this month, Craig of A World of Drinks blog, might help to elucidate matters.

This month’s theme slated for March 24th will get you looking in the basement at those old canning projects or in the back of the fridge for those stray bottles of syrups and shrubs for it is “Preserves.” Please read Craig’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

For this month’s challenge I would like to take us back to the humble beginnings of the cocktail bar, the days when bartenders didn’t have the luxury of daily deliveries of ingredients from around the world. In these times bartenders would have been uncertain when they would again have the privilege to work with special ingredients so would naturally try to make the most of them… Such methods of preservation such as syrups and preserves have been staple ingredients behind the bar ever since, while others such as shrubs and sherbets were relatively short lived. The aim of the challenge is to go back to the days of the preserve, pick an ingredient, seasonal or not and treat it as if you won’t be seeing it again for quite some time. Syrups, sorbets, jam, shrubs and the like are all fair game, anything that will preserve the integral character of your favourite ingredient.

Want to get all Smuckered out with some store bought jellies or jams? Or perhaps take some frozen or fresh fruit and make a syrup? Candied or dried produce — why not rehydrate and breath new life into it? Nice. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a recipe that somehow use an ingredient which has undergone some form of preservation, then post the recipe (both of the drink and the preserved item), 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 A World of Drinks 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 Craig know about your post before midnight on Monday night, March 24th by posting a link to your post in the comment section on his announcement post (preferable), by shooting him an email at umpleby(at)aworldofdrinks(dot)com with Mixology Monday as the subject.

That gives us all two weeks to start searching for preserved items or items to preserve and mix up a cocktail or two. Want to use pectins like a gum arabic-like smoothing agent for a rough drink? Go for it! Or perhaps a switchel or other Colonial era ingredient… I am definitely intrigued at the possibilities the MxMo community will conjure up!

MxMo LXXXII, February 17, 2014: Sours

January’s Mixology Monday taught us the beauty in simplicity with Highballs, two part drinks of spirit and mixer. These drinks are perfect for the low energy times when you just need to get things done. But for February, maybe we should find the energy for a three part drink (or more)? And with cold season upon us, how about some vitamin C from some fresh citrus? Perhaps I should explain by introducing our hosts for MxMo this month, Andrea of Ginhound blog.

This month’s theme slated for February 17th is one that will get that Boston or Cobbler Shaker a bit of a work out given the theme of “Sours.” Please read Andrea’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

Some of the most iconic cocktails are Sours… There is a reason for this: A perfectly balanced sour is a work of art. What has happened to the Margarita shows exactly what is at stake when mixes replace bartender skill. For this month’s MxMo I suggest that we test the sour to the limit: Are there citrus besides lemon, lime and grapefruit that works in a Sour? Is citrus the only possible souring ingredient? Could vinegar or other tart fruits or vegetables be used? Let’s also include the Daisies and the Fizzes – that widens the playing field with eggs and whatever makes you fizz to play with. Let’s play with the garnish – or just take Jerry Thomas’s advice from The Bon Vivant’s Companion: In mixing sours be careful and put the lemon skin in the glass.

Spirit, citrus, and sugar? Or perhaps swap out the sugar or sugar syrup for a fancy liqueur or flavored syrup? Definitely so many options given the citrus and sweeteners out there. Yuzu or Ugli Fruit? Whoa. A dank jaggery or a five-spiced syrup? Nice. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or create a recipe that somehow fits the definition of a Sour, Daisy, or Fizz, and then post the recipe, including 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 the MxMo logo in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Ginhound 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 to the announcement post on Ginhound, or send an email to andreadoria56 (at) gmail (dot) com with Mixology Monday in the subject. Do all this before midnight, Monday night the 17th of February.

That gives everyone about two weeks to start shopping in local ethnic markets to see what tart fruits lurk. Perhaps there are things other than citrus such as tamarind or even vinegar? And while you’re at it, look around for some cool spices or other flavorants for the syrup. I’m definitely quite curious to see the range of submissions for this one even if the subject seems so basic and narrow at first glance.

MxMo LXXXI, January 20, 2014: Highballs

With all of the spice notes of December’s Mixology Monday finally clear from our palates, it’s time to settle into the hibernation mode of January. Well, sometimes I have a ton of energy during the winter and focus it on cooking and drinking projects since I do not feel like leaving the house. And other times, the darkness and cold get to me, and drinking is about getting it done via popping a beer bottle cap or making something simple yet effective at the bar. Moreover, when I’m at work, a drink ticket for highballs is perfect when I’m in the weeds. This less labor intensive aspect fits right in with our MxMo this month, so let me introduce Joel of the Southern Ash blog.

This month’s theme slated for January 20th is a simple yet classic two-parter of “Highballs.”  Please read Joel’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

Highball – n. 1. a long iced drink consisting of a spirit base with water, soda water, etc. -Collins English Dictionary Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition…  For this month’s theme, I thought we could strip away the complexities of cocktails and relax with a nice highball… Most cocktails are at least three ingredients with the highball relegated to emergency or last resort status, but in those highballs we will seek refuge. The end of the day is sometimes better served by a simple liquor plus mixer combination than an artfully measured Corpse Reviver No. 2 This month, tell us what you’ll do with a liquor and a mixer (with maybe a wee bit of garnish) to ease into the new year.

Want to figure out what the best gin and tonic combination is? Perfect! If you do the same for rum and ginger beer, that’s great but just don’t call it a Dark & Stormy for legal issues. Ah wait, we’re poor bloggers anyways and that sort of stuff could only drive up the traffic. Strange and usual sodas from the ethnic aisle of the supermarket are a great way to go especially if you have access to tasty things like Ting grapefruit soda. A wine spritzer with some strange quinquina or aromatized wine? Whoa. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a recipe that somehow fits the definition of a highball, then post the recipe, including 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 Southern Ash 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 Joel know about your post before midnight on Monday night, January 20th by posting a link to your post in the comment section on his announcement post, by shooting him an email at southernashblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

That gives everyone two weeks to start figuring out what club night soda gun libation they want to pay to tribute to or what complex sparkly herbal interplay can be generated with two ingredients, ice, and a straw. With the limitations in place, I’m excited to see what drinks people will come up with to make drinking that much easier to do!

MxMo LXXX, December 23, 2013: Anise

With November’s seasonal theme of Resin matching the holiday cooking and adornment quite well, why not try again for December? This does not mean that you should be done with your IPA and gin for the season though, but let me explain by introducing our hosts for MxMo this month, Nick of The Straight Up blog.

This month’s theme slated for December 23rd may make you remember why you leave all the black jelly beans in the bag uneaten or why you just love Sazeracs given the theme of “Anise.” Feel free to read this month’s annoucement post with a star anise pressed into your forehead like a bindi:

While I had a few ideas I’ve been kicking around for this months theme, including some more holidayesque thoughts, I ultimately decided on one of my favorite flavors: anise. Although great any time of year, there is something about colder weather and the holidays that really sets my anise fetish into overdrive. While past MxMos have seen a few specific sources of anise, such as pastis and absinthe, I wanted to open things up to anything anise flavored, the more uniquethe better. Most folks have something with anise notes laying around, whether it’s absinthe or pastis, ouzo, Genepe, even Green Chartreuse, Peychaud’s, Raki, etc. Maybe get creative and make something tasty with some star anise, like a syrup, infusion or tincture.  Show us that riff on a Sazerac or Improved Holland Gin Cocktail that you love, or create something entirely new.

Now is the time to venture into the old cocktail books to find when absinthe was the St. Germain of the 19th century or to figure out why almost every country from Western Europe to Eastern Asia has an anise-flavored spirit in their culture (and perhaps put a few of them in a glass). Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or create a recipe that somehow utilizes anise or star anise flavors, then post the recipe, including 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 the MxMo logo in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and The Straight Up 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 to the announcement post on The Straight Up, or send an email to thestraightup (at) gmail (dot) com with Mixology Monday in the subject. Do all this before midnight, Monday night the 23rd of December.

This gives you about 2 weeks to make a syrup out of those leftover black jelly beans, figure out how to make anise oils louche out beautifully for your camera, or save you pocket change (and larger) for that new bottle of absinthe that you have been coveting. Once that is done (or you just turn your head and look to your already overstocked cocktail shelves), it is time to start scheming!