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!

MxMo LXXIX, November 18, 2013: Resin

After gazing at all the cool stamps in our booze passport from Mixology Monday: Intercontinental, it’s time to look ahead to the upcoming Holiday season and lock in with some of the flavors, smells, and ornaments of the next coming few months. So let me explain by introducing our hosts for MxMo this month, Christa and Shaun of the BoozeNerds blog.

This month’s theme slated for November 18th may make you look at your Christmas wreath or your spice rack a little differently given the theme of “Resin.” Please read Christa and Shaun’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

We thought hard about a theme that would work well for this time of year, and after contemplating the food, booze, and decor we like for the holidays, we settled on “Resin.” From savory rosemary in a stuffing, to a delicious juniper-y gin in a martini, to a fragrant fir ornament or garnish, our friends the evergreens have a lot to offer… The challenge: come up with an ingenious creation using the resin-y ingredient of your choice. Zirbenz, retsina, hoppy IPA, pine-nut puree, even? Sure! Spirit, garnish, aroma, all are fair game.  Whatever resin means to you, we want to hear it.

Want to riff on Beta Cocktail’s Rosemary’s Baby or add ingredients to beer to take the IPA hop craze a step even further via cocktail? Go for it. Want to garnish with a Christmas tree or coat your glass completely with ship-sealing pitch? Nice, and please take photos. On the gentler side, perhaps the Negroni with a robust gin would do. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a recipe that utilizes resin-y ingredients, 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 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 the BoozeNerds know about your post before midnight on Monday night, November 18th by posting a link to your post in the comment section on their announcement post, by shooting them an email at boozenerds (at) boozenerds (dot) com.

That gives everyone two weeks to start gathering up retsina gum, rosemary sprigs, those quirky liqueurs imported by Haus Alpenz, or beers from Green Flash. With all these options, I’m excited to see what drinks people will come up with to complement the late fall, almost winter night air!

MxMo LXXVIII, October 21, 2013: Intercontinental

With Mixology Monday duo of Smoke and Fire out of the way, the only options would be tinder, ashes, or changing gears completely. And the last is what Stewart of Putney Farms blog did for October.

This month’s theme slated for October 21st takes a bigger picture at civilization that fire and smoke helped to create with the theme of “Intercontinental.” You can read this Mixology Monday announcement post while playing world music or while munching on quinoa tandori if you’d like:

Everywhere we travel these days we see cocktails on the menu. And not just here in the USA, but all around the world. And that’s not only the drinks, but the ingredients as well… So let’s celebrate the global reach of cocktails with an “Intercontinental” Mixology Monday challenge. Create a cocktail with “ingredients” from at least 3, but preferably 4,5 or 6 continents. And if you can include Antarctica, then you get a Gold Star. And remember, sometimes the tools used, glassware, names or back stories of cocktails are important “ingredients.” Creativity and a bit of narrative exploration are encouraged. So if you have been waiting on buying that bottle of Japanese Scotch, Bundaberg rum from Australia, Pisco or Cachaca from South America or Madagascar vanilla, now may be the time to try them out….except for the Bundy…trust us on that. Have fun.

Want to make a Mai Tai with Australian and South American rum, the South African orange liqueur Van Der Hum, Asian citrus, European orgeat, and Antarctic ice? Awesome (just don’t ask me for a source of Antarctic ice…)! The sky is the limit here. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find, create, or modify a recipe that somehow utilizes ingredients or aspects from at least 3 continents (but the more, the better), 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 this Spirits and Cocktails forum thread that Stewart started.
  2. Include the MxMo logo in your post, plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Putney Farm 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 Stewart know by posting a link to your entry on the announcement post, or send an email to stewartbputney (at) gmail (dot) com with Mixology Monday in the subject. Do this all before midnight on the 21st.

This gives you two weeks to start cataloging your liquor and spice shelves, scouring liquor stores and ethnic markets, or mail ordering crazy ingredients. So crack out that cachaça or pisco, those grappas and amaros, and that American whiskey and start scheming!