This is one of several “holiday menu” installments, so brace yourselves! Alright, so let’s start the holidays off right with some eggnog. The recipe that I’ve been using for the past couple of years has been adapted from Martha Stewart. Now I was looking on her website a couple of weeks ago and I really couldn’t find the right recipe. I found one for her “Classic Eggnog” but the amount of booze seemed a lot lower than I remember; even if you made a double batch it still didn’t sound right. Luckily I found one on Food.com which was a lot closer to what I remember. Of course, I changed it a little — I changed it from 1/2 c. rum to a full cup because why would you just put 1/2 c. of rum into anything?
In addition to a nice large serving bowl, here’s what you need:
- 12 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 c. superfine sugar
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 1/2 quarts heavy cream
- 3 c. bourbon
- 2 c. cognac
- 1 c. dark rum
- freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a very large bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow. Gradually add sugar to the yolks, whisking to combine. Gradually whisk in the milk and 1 qt. of the cream. Now add your bourbon, rum, and cognac, stirring constantly. You can make this base of the eggnog a day or so in advance.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff (you can add a little bit of sugar if you like). Gently fold that into the mixture.
3. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and dollop or fold into the mixture. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve!
Notes — There is a caution at the bottom of the recipes that I found stating that “raw eggs should not be used in food prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.” It’s probably a not to let pregnant women, babies, or young children to drink something this boozy!. . . supposedly this serves 24.
Peter Venkman, Camilla Parker Bowles, and a Tic-Tac. Sounds like the punchline to a bad joke. It could be, but it’s not. This is round 2 of my experimenting with my liquor cabinet and some sparkling wine. By this time in the “trials”, I am starting to get tipsy, so the names of these drinks might be a little weird, but I swear they made sense at the time. Now these names are not original, so hopefully they won’t cause any troubles. I’m not making any money off these things, so I guess it should be okay.
- 5 oz. sparkling wine
- 1 oz. Midori
Pour the Midori into a flute. Top off with the sparkling or champers. Now this one isn’t all that difficult to explain how we got to this name. Originally, I was going to call it a Romulan Ale (and yes I’m a big Star Trek nerd). Problem was that Romulan Ale is blue (if you follow any of the Trekkie lore). There is another Star Trek drink that is green called Aldebaran Whiskey, but that didn’t seem to fit at all. So what’s the next thing that popped into my head — Ghostbusters! The color is definitely that of Slimer, but I couldn’t call it Slime, so Peter Venkman seemed like the next logical choice.
- 5 oz. sparkling wine
- 1 oz. raspberry liquor
- dash of bitters
There was all that buzz about the royal wedding, I thought to myself that maybe I should make something that reflected all the hub-bub. Plus there was all that rioting in London, I think over an increase in fees for students and they attacked the car that was carrying Prince Charles and Camilla. Personally I don’t get the big deal over the hike in fees. Maybe it’s because tuition in this country is redonk — I gots $50,000 in student loans after 2 years of school. But I digress. . . the recipe is simple enough, but I added a dash of bitters. . . because I think Camilla has a dash of bitters herself.
- 4 oz. sparkling wine
- 1 oz. mint syrup
- 1 drop peppermint oil
This recipe packs a wallop. All because of the oil. I recommend closing your eyes when you drink this one. Or try it with your eyes open, then you’ll know what I mean.
I hosted a wine tasting recently with a focus on whites and sparkling wines. So I thought it might be nice to see what recipes are out there for drinks that use sparkling wines (champagne, cava, prosecco, spumante, etc. . . ) as a base. Probably most everyone knows about mimosas and bellinis. But I am looking for something a little bit different from even a sparkling sangria (which will probably be my fall back).
Now my booze cabinet isn’t the most well-stocked, but I do have a couple of mixers that I could use, plus there are some things that I have already stocked in the refrigerator. So here’s what I have:
Mixers, liqueurs, syrups, etc: Midori, raspberry liqueur, cranberry mix, sour apple mix, Angostura bitters, rhubarb syrup, mint syrup, Apple Pie liqueur (luv this stuff. it really does taste like boozy apple pie!), and sugar cubes.
Booze: Appleton VX, Appleton 12-year-old, Pisco, Cachaca (actually two types), Bison Grass vodka, Apple Jack, Yukon Jack, Bulleit Rye, and Woodford’s Reserve.
I am not using my good Appleton rum (If you are ever lucky enough to try some 30-year-old Appleton, by all means get it. Exquisite stuff! Too bad the oldest available in Michigan is the 12-year-old.), the vodka, or my bourbon. No sense in wasting those on something that may or may not work. Plus, no sense in using a bottle of Krug in making champagne cocktails. I am using prosecco from Cupcake Vineyards. Not a bad wine, especially for the price — about $8!
So for this first post I did find some recipes for a couple of traditional cocktails. I apologize for the picture; the cocktails looked a little ominous for some reason. One of them is just a Classic Champagne Cocktail. I guess it’s been around forever. The other one is called Nelson’s Blood. Now if you don’t know the story behind the name, it’s not a pretty one, but more on that later. . .
- 1 sugar cube
- 5 oz. champagne
On a plate, place the sugar cube and splash on a couple of dashes of the bitters in order to soak the cube. Now transfer the cube to a champagne flute and top off with the champagne or sparkling wine. The sugar cube has lots of nucleation points for the sparkling so this will be extra bubbly (think about sodas and Mentos, but not as violent. . . if you don’t know what I’m taking about, click on this).
For the Nelson’s Blood:
- 1 oz. Tawny Port
- 5 oz. champagne
In a champagne flute, pour in your Port. Now top it off with the champagne. I do confess though — the pic does not have port in it, but some of the Appleton VX instead. Although most recipes I found just have the port and sparkling in it, there are some which have rum. These are more complex and have better ties to the provenance of the drink. So here’s a cultural nugget and a little bit of history. . .
Picture it — Trafalgar, 1805. . . The British fleet has just scored another victory against the rival French, but the victory would cost Admiral Horatio Nelson his life. Admiral Nelson was a war hero beloved all over England and a burial at sea would just not sit well with folks back at home. The problem was that getting him home could take possibly months. So to keep his body, er. . . fresh. . . it was preserved in a casket of brandy where it was essentially pickled.
It has been reported that since he was so beloved by the people and admired by his crew, some of the sailors aboard Nelson’s ship secretly stole a sip of the pickling brandy to hopefully take in some of his qualities. So this has given life to numerous concoctions paying homage to him. Check out this one which has brandy (to symbolize his “preserves”), tawny port (to symbolize his spilt blood), rum (because he was a sailor), and blood orange juice (since he died just off the coast of Spain). Tasty!
I love Pink Martini! It is hard to really describe the sound of the band. Even with only 12-members, they still achieve the big band sound which is why they have been called the “Little Orchestra”. They do some jazz standards, as well as original material, and different interpretations of classical music. They also do a whole range of world music and have recorded songs in multiple languages. For example, their most recent holiday CD has a Japanese version of White Christmas, a Chinese New Year carol, a song from a Verdi opera, and a couple of songs for Hanukkah. I know I can’t really describe their music all that well so you should just check out their website or look them up on YouTube.
I was just at their show just this past weekend which closed out our Summer Festival. So in honor of the concert, I thought I’d try to conjure up a Pink Martini recipe! Here’s what I came up with:
- 1 oz. rhubarb syrup
- 2 oz. bison / buffalo grass vodka (or gin)
- splash of raspberry liquor
- splash of cranberry nectar
- dash of bitters
Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a glass.
Notes — If you wanted to substitute some gin for the vodka that should be fine. I do not like gin, so that’s why I use the buffalo (bison) grass vodka. It is similar to the gin in that they both have that organic, botanical taste. The one that I have at home is Bak’s, but if you come across some others, I definitely recommend it. It used to be banned in this country so that might make it a little tricky to find. I guess the grass has a certain chemical that is a little bit toxic and, um, anti-coagulant-y. They use that same chemical in rat poison. . . . yay! But that does give it a certain “forbidden fruit” allure to it.
I was looking around for another nice summery drink and I stumbled upon this recipe on Martha’s website (hopefully we all know which Martha I’m talking about). What I was looking for was a recipe that could help me use up my cachaca that wasn’t just a caipirinha. In the regular caipirinha recipe, you just muddle the lime in some sugar and pour in the booze. This recipe is still close, but it does amp up the lime.
Now for those who may not know, cachaca is a liquor that is made from sugar cane. It is different from rum in that it is made directly from the juice, whereas rum is usually made from molasses.
For some reason or another, I thought that this recipe would make like a gallon of the limeade. Granted I did read the recipe and somehow I figured out 5 1/2 cups of liquid would be more than enough to fill my pitcher. Maybe I’ll just put in lots of ice. I could double up the recipe, but juicing another 16 limes is too much of a task right now!
My next mission is to find several recipes that can use up my Pisco!
Here’s what you need:
- 4 limes, cut into 8 wedges each
- 2 c. plus 2 T. superfine sugar
- 2 c. fresh lime juice, strained
- 1 1/2 c. cachaca
Muddle the limes and the sugar in a pitcher or container with a wooden spoon. Add the lime juice and mix to dissolve the sugar. Add the cachaca and stir. According to Martha, you can keep this in the refrigerator up to three days. For the leftovers, I strained out the limes and plan on keep it in the fridge until it’s gone. I’m sure it will be fine, but I’m not 100% sure how the acid from the lime juice will alter the flavor of the cachaca over time.
Happy June everyone! I’ve been out of commission for a couple of weeks cuz my computer had the flu (stupid spy ware, & thanx to Jeremy with a “y” for fixing my laptop). But I came across this and I thought I’d share this great article about Michigan’s Wine Country. Not too shabs to get a right up in Food & Wine magazine! Much in the same way that California wines proved that great wine doesn’t have to be made in France, Michigan wines show that great American wines don’t need to be made in California. I actually made it up to some of the wineries that they mention in the article like L. Mawby and Black Star Farms. Hope to make it up to the Old Mission soon and check out some of those wineries.
This is an aside, but if you want to learn more about the whole uprising of the California wines against the European elite, check out the movie Bottleshock. Sure, you can learn about it in books and stuff, but you know what I like about the movie? — no reading!!! It stars Alan Rickman, who most people will recognize as Professor Snape of Harry Potter fame. . . or the bad guy from the first Die Hard movie. Bill Pullman’s in it, too, plus the new Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine.
I got the inspiration for this from the blog Coconut & Lime. There was a post with a recipe for a Rhubarb Soda which sounded so simple and so good. It was one of those “How-can-this-fail?” kind of things. Now most likely, I will be trying this later today. #1 — it sounds delicioso. #2 — there is fresh rhubarb in the house (hopefully there will be some leftover from a rhubarb upside-down cake which will also be happening later today). Plus it’s a perfect accompaniment to a nice outdoor BBQ (after all, it is National BBQ Month).
But since we just had the Kentucky Derby. . . was it the Kentucky Derby?. . . it was the one with the hats and the Mint Juleps. Anyhoo, I thought to myself, “Hey, what about a Rhubarb Julep?” Now aside from the rhubarb part, my recipe strays from the traditional julep in that I add a splash of club soda to give the drink some fizz and to help balance it out. Too often I’ve had mint juleps that have been either too sweet or too boozy (which is weird cuz I do drink bourbon straight). The club soda helps round everything out without just watering the drink down. So you really could think of this as a Rhubarb Soda with some bourbon in it.
So what can I tell you about rhubarb? I actually don’t know a lot, but one website (The Rhubarb Compendium) has a whole gaggle of info. Its roots can be traced back to ancient China with records dating back to almost 5000 years ago, give or take a couple of centuries. It was used for its medicinal purposes, primarily as a, um, cleanser. Today we pretty much consider it a pie plant. But here is a nice way of using rhubarb without having to make a pie.
Here’s what you need for the soda:
- 4 stalks rhubarb (chopped)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- club soda
1. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low until the sugar dissolves. Cook for about 10 minutes to reduce. Run through a strainer, pressing the rhubarb through to get all the syrup.
2. In a glass of ice, pour about 1 T. of the syrup (or however much you want). Top off with club soda and stir.
Here’s what you need for the julep:
- 1 part prepared rhubarb syrup
- 2 parts bourbon
- crushed ice
- tonic water or club soda
Place ice in a glass. Pour about 1 oz. of the syrup over the ice. Add the bourbon. Top off with tonic water and stir.