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!

MxMo LXXVII, September 23, 2013: Smoke!

Maybe we jumped the gun with August’s hot theme of “Fire!” Well, luckily none of us bloggers and tumblrers burned our houses down or spent an hour or two typing away with burned and blistered fingers. So let me explain by introducing our September Mixology Monday host, Elana of the Stir and Strain blog.

This month’s theme slated for September 23rd takes a step back from fire and focuses on the theme of “Smoke!” You can read this Mixology Monday announcement post exhaling from a robust Nat Sherman or a stale old Camel Light if you so desire, but here is a brief description:

They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire– it isn’t necessarily true if we’re down to the smoldering embers, but, well, they say it anyway. In our case, where there was fire, now there’s smoke, and it’s time to stoke your enthusiasm for the next challenge. Smoke has been everywhere this past year… For me, smoke is also a transitional element: it symbolizes the last summer bonfires, sitting around the fire pit making s’mores, and the start of the fragrant crackles from the fireplace announcing that fall is coming. For September’s theme, I’d like to see how you interpret smoke. With your liquor or ingredients? Your glassware? Will you whip out a chemistry set to transform your cocktail into ghostly vapors? Do you own a home smoker, still in the box, that’s never been used? Well then, you’re welcome. Unpack those ideas and let’s set off a couple smoke alarms this month for MxMo.

Just like last month, be very careful with making things smokey especially in regards to igniting things, especially under the influence, so please use your better judgment on this one with safety precautions for ventilation and the like. So get your Laphroaig, BBQ sauce, crack torches for cinnamon sticks, or any of the other ways to incorporate the smoke into a drink with this theme! Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a recipe that somehow utilizes smoke or smokiness, 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 Stir and Strain sites. Once the roundup post is put up, updating your post to include a link to that one as well would be appreciated.
  • Submit a link to the announcement post on Stir and Strain, tweet Elana at @elanabean (include hashtag #mxmo), or send an email to elana (at) stirandstrain (dot) com with Mixology Monday in the subject. Do all this before midnight, Monday night the 23rd of September.
  • Seriously, remember to put new batteries into your smoke alarm.

This gives you two whole weeks to tinker with smoke-garnished glassware, dropper bottles of liquid smoke, or shop for new drams of Islay Scotches and Oaxacan Mezcals. I am quite excited to see everything from spirits-driven posts to molecular mixology ones.

MxMo LXXVI, August 19, 2013: Fire!

With July’s theme being swapped in and swapped out with “Flip Flop!”, it’s time to look to the summer heat of August. How hot you ask? Apparently, enough to be combustible as we shall see from August’s Mixology Monday host, namely the Muse of Doom from the Feu de Vie blog.

This month’s theme slated for August 19th takes that warmth and makes it festive with the theme of “Fire!” Yes, you can read this Mixology Monday announcement post in your best Beavis and Butthead voice if you so like, but here is a brief description:

Tiki-philes have their flaming spent lime shells and scorpion bowls. Classic cocktailers have the magic of a flamed orange zest. Molecular mixologists have their Smoking Guns. …You don’t have to go full Blue Blazer, not nearly — heck, you could go full Fireball Whiskey! (or Fire Rock Pale Ale, etc.) You could riff on the Old Flame or come up with an inventive name of your own. You could even use a good firewater or burned wine. (and if you’re grilling fruit, save some for me, will ya?) In essence, bring the heat! Bring the Fire! Bring your inspiration!

The Muse does warn us all to be careful for fire, especially under the influence, can be dangerous, destructive, and painful, so please use your better judgment on this one with safety precautions. So get your overproof spirits ready or any of the other ways to incorporate the heat into a drink with this theme! Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or create a recipe that somehow utilizes fire, 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 (either the classic one or the really cool one the Muse designed for this event!), plus links back to the Mixology Monday and Feu de Vie 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 the Muse know by by posting a link to your post in the comment section on her post, tweet her @MuseOfDoom, or send her an email to muse at museofdoom dot com with “MxMo” in the subject. Do so by the end of Monday the 19th (i.e. Tuesday morning 7 a.m. E.S.T. to make up for timezone issues) to be insured a spot in the fun.
  4. Seriously, don’t burn down your home bar.

This gives you two weeks to fire up the hibachi, flip through the tomes of Tiki drinks, order up Blue Blazer mugs from Cocktail Kingdom, or figure out how to float a lit birthday candle on a citrus peel garnish float or ice cube. With all these options, I’m not only excited to see what recipes can be showcased but to witness the cool photos of the drink magic!