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.

MxMo C, August 24, 2015: Cocktail Chronicles

There has been a lot of chatter about this Mixology Monday, the 100th one. People wondered if we could get Paul Clarke to host it, but Papa is busy with promoting his new book The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker & Glass as well as the magic he does with Imbibe Magazine and elsewhere. While interviewing him at Tales of the Cocktail last month, I did get Paul to promise to participate in this Mixology Monday (audio evidence on the CocktailVirgin announcement post). The people I had on the schedule for August were a little uneasy about hosting such a momentous event and shifted over a month which left me to host yet another Mixology Monday. But what to do for Mixology Monday C? C is for Cookie, but it is also for Cocktail… and Chronicles. Yes, Paul’s blog that started it all.

This month’s theme slated for August 24th is one that will get you considering the drinks of yore that will still be the drinks of tomorrow Please read my full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

But what does Mixology Monday “Cocktail Chronicles” mean? I figured that we should look to Paul’s magnum opus and digest the theme of it all — what is timeless (or potentially timeless) and elegant in its simplicity. Paul commented in his interview, “[it]’s wonderful to see that level of creativity but simplicity is going to be the glue that continues to hold interest in the cocktail together. The moment that we make cocktails too difficult or too inaccessible to the average guest, the average consumer, then we start losing people.” Paul does support a minor tweak of a major classic as well as dusting off a lesser known vintage recipe like the Creole Contentment; in addition, proto-classics like the Chartreuse Swizzle and the Penicillin intrigue him for their potential to be remembered twenty years from now. Moreover, he is a big fan of the story when there is one whether about a somewhat novel ingredient like a quinquina, the bartender making it, or the history behind a cocktail or the bar from which it originated. Indeed, I quoted Paul as saying, “If I write about these and manage to make them boring, then I have done an incredible disservice. So I feel an incredible obligation not only to the drinks themselves, but to the bartenders who created them, and also to the heritage of cocktail writing to try to elevate it.”

So for this theme, channel your inner Paul Clarke. Think about simplicity, elegance, and timelessness to the point that you would not feel strange about drinking and writing about this at MxMo M. Feel free to feature a drink that Paul wrote about in his book or on his dusty blog, and feel free to search through your own library collection for something interesting to fit the bill. Try to develop a story around it to bring even the most simplest cocktail recipe to a higher level of intrigue for the reader. The Negroni is just a 3 parts recipe, but Gaz Regan certainly elevated it in his book The Negroni. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  1. Find or concoct a recipe that represents simplicity, elegance, and timelessness to you, 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.
  2. Include the MxMo logo (either the classic or the MxMo 100 one that I created for this event) in your post plus links back to the Mixology Monday and CocktailVirgin 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 Fred know about your post by Monday night, August 24th by posting a link to your post in the comment section on his post, writing him at yarm-at-verizon-dot-net with “MxMo” in the subject, or by tweeting at him via @cocktailvirgin.

That gives us all two weeks to start thinking about timelessness drinks that can bring in new drinkers and maintain the old ones so they do not mumble something about fuddy-duddy recipes with a look mixed with confusion and irritation. Cheers to Papa Clarke for launching Mixology Monday and I hope this 100th episode is a worthy tribute!

MxMo XCIX, July 27, 2015: Ice, Ice Baby!

Wow, Mixology Monday #99! First, I cannot figure out whether I am more surprised that this event has lasted this long or that the Roman numerals for 99 are not IC. Second, we are not neglecting Mixology Monday due to Tales of the Cocktail; instead, we are sweet spotting Tales in the middle of the 2 week time period for submissions to make sure that people have about a week to participate once they get back. While it worked quite well in years past when I was not attending but acting as MxMo cat herder; this year, I have a vested interest since I am departing tomorrow for the Big Easy! And boy is it hot down there! What better to cool myself down than an icy cold beverage. Frozen Daiquiris (whether or not they have actual rum in them)? Crazy ice shells and Navy Grog cones at Beachbum Berry’s new tiki bar? Boozy popsicles like the delicious Cynar popsicles I had back at Tales of the Cocktail 2011? So many choices just at street level, and this doesn’t include what I could do at my home or work bars! Perhaps introducing our host for MxMo this month, Muse of Doom of the Feu de Vie blog, might make this idea better understood.

This month’s theme slated for July 27th is one that will get you considering all the way that water and flavor water can freeze! Please read the Muse’s full announcement post, but here is a brief description:

And in all this time there hasn’t once been a theme dedicated to that undersung-yet-essential part of nearly any cocktail: ICE. The word says it all. Big ice cubes for Old Fashioneds, pellet ice for juleps and cobblers, shaved ice for adult snowcones, crushed ice molded into a cone for a classic Navy Grog. The art of the blender. Tell us why your selected or invented cocktail needs this particular ice usage. Show us how to make perfectly clear ice at home or what you get to work with as a professional drink-slinger. It doesn’t even have to be pure H2O, either. Flavor it up! Teas, juices, liqueurs, bitters, other frozen edible objects serving as ice. Tell us the nuances of a properly-made Il Palio. Show us why a decorative approach takes your recipe to the next level. Whatever tickles your tastebuds and refreshes you this summer.

I neglected crystal clear ice cubes! Yes, be a protegé of Camper English, clear out your freezer of food, and start insulating and tinkering to make bubble-free ice without a specialty ice machine. Whatever direction you take, don’t do anything stupid with dry ice or liquid nitrogen without some concern for safety though. Some liqueurs and spirits just are too challenging to capture without thinking about sorbets or other. Briefly, here’s how to participate:

  • Find or create a recipe for a boozy drink that shows off the ice usage, 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 Feu de Vie sites,  and the round-up post when that goes up.
  • Post a link to your submission in the comment section of the announcement post, tweet her at @MuseOfDoom, or send an email to muse at museofdoom dot com with “MxMo” in the subject. Try to do so by the end of Monday the 27th with stragglers added until the end of July or so.

That gives us all 2 weeks to play along. And if I don’t melt while down in NOLA, I’ll look forward to seeing all the crafty ways liquids can be frozen and utilized to boozy effects! And then MxMo C? Maybe Paul Clarke will come back to us bloggers and host the big one, or more likely, we’ll be a cat birthday party ignoring the cake in the middle to go investigate that brown paper bag over there. You know, business as usual.