MxMo LXXIV, June 17, 2013: Cherries

With April’s “Drink Your Vegetables” and May’s herbal “Witches’ Garden” in the record books, what else would be a good logical progression but fruit? But not all fruit, as we shall see from June’s Mixology Monday host, namely Andrea of the Gin Hound blog.

This month’s theme slated for June 17th is perfect for what is beginning to ripen on the tree in some parts of the world, for it is “Cherries” which Andrea describes rather well in her announcement post. Here’s a brief description:

Singapore Gin Sling, Blood and Sand, and the Aviation wouldn’t be the same without them… But cherries in cocktails are also horribly abused, few things taste worse than artificial cherry aroma, and the description of how most maraschino cherries are made can make you sick to your stomach. So it’s my pleasure as the host of Mixology Monday… to challenge you to honor the humble cherry. However you choose to do that, is entirely up to you. You could use Maraschino Liqueur, Cherry Heering, Kirchwasser, Belgian Kriek Beer, cherry wine, or any spectacular infusions invented by you in a cocktail. Or make your own maraschino cherries for a spectacular garnish.

So whether you want to go fresh via the supermarket, farmer’s market, or your own orchard for a muddled, syrup, or infusion approach, or go with something off of a liquor shelf, it’s time to start looking around for inspiration! Even canned, dried, or frozen cherries will work here as well — plenty of ways to play with this theme! Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find a drink recipe or create one featuring one or more cherry-based ingredients in some form. Make the drink and post a photo, the recipe, and your tasting notes and commentary to your blog, website, or Tumblr. If you lack one of those, use eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  2. Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Gin Hound sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  3. Let Andrea know about your post before 11:59pm on Monday, June 17th by posting a link to your post in the comment section on her announcement post, by shooting her an email at andreadoria56 (at) gmail (dot) com, or by tweeting her at @Husejer.

This gives you two weeks to scope out which neighbors’ cherry tree limbs cross property lines into public access space (yes, I support gleaning) or dust off that bottle of Cherry Heering that hasn’t been used since you made that Remember the Maine last fall. And muddling fresh or preserved Marasca cherries has been a great way to integrate flavors rather quickly. With all these options, I’m excited to see what will pour out of your collective Boston shakers!

 

MxMo LXXIII, May 20, 2013: Witches’ Garden

April’s “Drink Your Vegetables” theme was a great harbinger of rebirth and got us thinking about what was at the farm stand, and May’s Mixology Monday theme, hosted by Mark Holmes of the Cardiff Cocktails tumblr, will keep true to that.

This month’s theme slated for May 20nd continues on with the Spring season in a more herbal sense, and if you are in the Southern hemisphere or the Tropics, do not fear for this theme will work for you, for it is “Witches’ Garden” which Mark describes rather well in his announcement post. Here’s a brief excerpt:

As far back as we can look, the use of fresh herbs have been prevalent in the world of mixed drinks. From the early days of the julep, through Williams Terrington’s 19th century Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, to Don the Beachcomber’s ahead of their time Tiki drinks, fresh herbs have always been at the forefront of mixology. So lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing. I don’t want to put too many limits on this theme so get as creative as you please, want to use roots, spices or beans as well? Sure thing. Want to make your own herbal infusions or tinctures? Sounds wonderful.

Want to go simple with common herbs like basil, go exotic via an ethnic supermarket and get something intriguing like curry leaves, or go with something 19th century like woodruff, the choice is yours. Perhaps getting a copy of The Drunken Botanist might help for inspiration, but there are plenty of recipes that have been created throughout the years and that have yet to be created. Regardless, briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a cocktail recipe which calls for the use of fresh herbs, barks, roots, or beans. Write up the recipe and your thoughts about the drink and the theme in general, add a photo or two, and post it on your own blog, Tumblr, or eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  • Include in your post the MxMo logo as well as links to the Mixology Monday and to Cardiff Cocktails.
  • Finally, Tell Mark about your MxMo entry in a few ways. These include commenting on his post by clicking here (note: this is a WordPress that he set up in parallel to his tumblr where the announcement is), emailing him at holmeandpub(at)hotmail.co.uk, or tweeting him at @markholmes16. Try to get the entries in before the clock strikes midnight on Monday night, May the 20th.

So time to get a basket and go harvesting in the woods, in the garden, or at the market, for there is a bounty of inspiration and ingredients out there. If you are wild harvesting, please be sure of the identity of what you are sourcing. Borage Juleps or Sage Smashes? I look forward to what us bloggers can conjure up! Also, if you want to host an upcoming Mixology Monday, find out the details here and contact me. Cheers!

MxMo LXXII, April 22, 2013: Drink Your Vegetables

March came in like a lion and out like a lamb with its “From Crass to Craft” theme, and it is time to look ahead to April’s Mixology Monday hosted by Rowen of the Fogged In Lounge blog.

This month’s theme slated for April 22nd is quite appropriate for the Spring season that is now upon us (unless you are in the Southern hemisphere that is, in which case, there are plenty of Autumn vegetables coming to harvest, or in the Tropics where seasons do not matter much), for it is “Drink Your Vegetables” which Rowen describes rather well in his announcement post. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Want to get more vegetables but you’re always eating on the run?… Well then, how about a vegetable cocktail? No, not that nice little glass of red stuff Grandma put at each place setting—we’re talking something with a kick in it. You can definitely start with the little glass of red stuff and expand it to a Red Snapper-style drink like a Bloody Mary. Or how about a cucumber-scented cooler like a Pimm’s Cup, or maybe a cocktail featuring a vegetable-based ingredient like Cardamaro or celery bitters? Maybe you’ve been wondering if you can get more mileage out of that juice extractor before consigning it to the garage sale. However you get them in that glass, be prepared for the most fun with vegetables ever.

So it’s time to start perusing the farmer’s markets and supermarket shelves to look for inspiration. Remember that vegetables can not only be juiced but they make fine syrups and infusions as well. Feeling lazy? Besides the vegetable-containing liqueurs, bitters, and bottled juices mentioned above, many vegetables can be quickly muddled to donate their flavor. Plenty of ways to play with this theme! Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find a drink or create one featuring one or more vegetable-based ingredients in some form. Make the drink and post a photo, the recipe, and your tasting notes and commentary to your blog, website, or Tumblr. If you lack one of those, use eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum; you can also email it to our host at foggedinlounge (at) gmail (dot) com.
  2. Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Fogged In Lounge sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  3. Let Rowen know about your post before 11:59pm PDT on Monday, April 22 by posting a link to your post in the comment section on his announcement post or by shooting him an email at foggedinlounge (at) gmail (dot) com.

This gives you two weeks to see what is coming to market or what is in the freezer section of the store. Or perhaps what is already in your liquor shelves or in syrup collection in your fridge. And let the inspiration meet your mixing tin!

MxMo LXXI, March 18, 2013: From Crass to Craft

With February having been turned upside down and inside out with the “Inverted” theme, it is time to look to March’s Mixology Monday hosted by Scott Diaz of Shake, Stain, & Sip.

The theme this month will come to fruition on March 18th and is indeed a refreshing one, for it is “From Crass to Craft.” Scott describes the fine details in his announcement post, but here is a brief excerpt:

The evolution of the cocktail has been a wondrous, and sometimes, frightful journey… But with all this focus on “craft” ingredients and classic tools & form, it seems we have become somewhat pretentious.  The focus on bitter Italian amari, revived and lost ingredients such as Batavia Arrack or Crème de Violette, the snickering at a guest ordering a Cosmopolitan or a Midori Sour has propelled us into the dark realm of snobbery… Remember, the bar was created with pleasing one particular group in mind: the guest. As such, this month’s MxMo theme… will focus on concocting a craft cocktail worthy of not only MxMo but any trendy bar, using dubious and otherwise shunned ingredients to sprout forth a craft cocktail that no one could deny is anything less.  There are a plethora of spirits, liqueurs, and non-alcoholic libations that are just waiting for someone to showcase that they too are worthy of being featured on our home and bar shelves.  So grab that bottle of flavored vodka, Jägermeister, cranberry juice, soda, neon-colored liqueur, sour mix, or anything else deemed unworthy of a craft cocktail, and get mixin’!

Perhaps that bottle is in the back of your shelf from the early days of building your home bar, or perhaps it takes the forefront for you still retain an appreciation for Galliano, Germain kräuter liqueurs, or blue tropical drinks. Or perhaps after the purge, you may need to buy, borrow, or make them. Regardless, briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Create or find a drink that uses one or more ingredients that are not considered “craft” but are or can be used in a “craft” cocktail. Sweet & sour, coffee, cranberry juice, most flavored vodkas, Midori, X-Rated, Alize, almost anything starting with creme, etc., are all game. Also, if you want to take it a step further and reinvent a crass cocktail like the Appletini or Cosmo, please feel free (though keep in mind that a similar theme was on a previous MxMo LXIII: Retro Redemption put on by Jacob Grier).
  • Make the drink and then post a photo, the recipe, and any thoughts or commentary you have on your blog, tumblr, livejournal, or what-have-you.  If you lack one of those, find or start a thread on eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum and post your drink write up there.
  • Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Shake, Stain, & Sip sites. And once the round-up is posted, a link to that summary post would be appreciated.
  • Finally, comment on Scott’s announcement post with a link to your entry (preferred), or email him at sjdiaz-at-gmail-dot-com. Do all this before Midnight on March 18th. Scott will try to post the round up in the afternoon on the 19th.

So with that, go grab that dusty bottle of Parfait Amour, that neon bottled sour mix which never goes bad, or that Mad Dog 20/20 you haven’t considered touching since you got off of unemployment, and set to work!

MxMo LXX, February 18, 2013: Inverted

Now that January’s tribute to port, sherry, maderia, and other fortified wines has heartily been imbibed, it’s time to look to February’s Mixology Monday hosted by Stewart Putney of Putney Farm.

This month’s theme slated for February 18th is a quirky one in an exciting and cool way, for it is “Inverted” which he describes rather well in his announcement post. Here’s a brief excerpt:

A while ago, while researching Julia Child’s recipes, we noticed that she was well-known for enjoying “upside-down” or “inverted” Martinis. This is a version of the classic cocktail that swaps the ratios of gin and vermouth, turning the Martini into something of a “long drink”… We wondered if we could apply the same “inverted” approach to Mixology Monday and, at first, didn’t think it would work. But then we asked ourselves, what does “inverted” really mean? Well, here is the definition, “To turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the position, order, or condition of.” Hmm…it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that “inverted” really just means something “flipped on its head”. And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity… You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and “invert” whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game.  An apéritif made with Navy-Strength booze? Give it a try. A beer-based cocktail that tastes like champagne? Sure. A clear Manhattan? Worth a shot (and good luck with that). The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun.

So it’s time to put on your thinking caps and have some fun with this theme. For the less creative, many of the 19th century drinks already inverted the spirit and vermouth from the way they are served now; perhaps make both and compare? Also, many inventive bartenders have crafted fine recipes fitting this theme in the last few years. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find a drink recipe or create one that “inverts” the ingredients or other elements of the cocktail. Write up the recipe and your thoughts about the drink, add a picture or two, and post it on your own blog, Tumblr, or eGullet’s Spirits and Cocktails forum. If you don’t have any other way of posting, you can also email Stewart at stewartbputney (at) gmail (dot) com.
  2. Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Putney Farm sites. And once the round-up is posted, a link to that summary post would be most appreciated.
  3. Get your submission in by February 18th. Any time of day is fine and stragglers are always welcome. To submit, post a comment in Putney Farm’s announcement page or write him at stewartbputney (at) gmail (dot) com.

So get a speed pour on that Angostura Bitters bottle, start eying non-rum bottles to make Tiki drinks, figure out how to magnetize your drink (or use a rotor) to serve it upside down, or just go heavy handed on the aromatized wines. So many options, so little time two weeks of time!