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Cocktail of the week!


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I thought I'd share some of the 200 odd cocktail recipes I keep floating around my head so that you can give them a whirl.  It's also a great excuse to expand your liquor cabinet!

 If the specific products I list are difficult to get wherever you are, then let me know and I'll furnish you with some alternative, however I'll always list the product type, followed by my recommendation so you can either use what you have or try something new.

I'll edit this first post with techniques and cheats as they come up so that you don't have to spend a small fortune on specialist kit.

You can scale up or down the recipes as necessary to fill your glassware.

**** Techniques ****

Lemon / orange /lime twist:

Where a recipe calls for a twist as a garnish, you will simply need a potato peeler, and peel the fruit to get a peel length of around 2 inches or 5 cm, no measurement necessary.  Then you will either twist it over the drink to release the oils, then rim the glass with it (just a quick wipe around the rim) and in most cases drop it into the drink.  Occasionally you will want to discard after twisting or rimming so as not to add too much zest flavour and I'll let you know when that is the case.

Sugar syrup:

Sugar syrup is difficult to buy and arduous to produce for most people.  Where you can use normal sugar I'll state that in the recipe, where you cannot easily do that you can substitute for Agave syrup which is easier to find and has a low GI so is better for diabetics.  There is a slight difference in flavour, but with the small amount you will be using in a drink you shouldn't notice it.  If you really wanted to make sugar syrup the recipe is easy:  Blend 2 parts hot water with 1 part white sugar by volume.  Caster sugar is best as it will blend more consistently.

Edited by Platytross
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French 75

First up a classic from Paris during WWI, named after the 75 pound guns.  The brandy version is occasionally called a French 90 due to it's heftier flavour.  This drink is great any time of day and in any circumstance and very easy to make.  Slightly on the dry side, and you can add a little more sugar if you wanted to.

Pour the following into a champagne glass:

1/2oz Lemon juice
1/2oz Gin or Brandy
1/4oz Sugar Syrup

Brief stir, then fill with champagne to your personal taste, but around 3 1/2oz (100ml) is good (substitute for any dry sparkling wine)

Garnish with a lemon twist dropped into the glass.

Edited by Platytross
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The Paulina I've never heard of, and the Melody I only know from a Spanish deli above the bar I run.  

The Corenwijn is delicious though, great with beer but difficult to do anything with, but you can make a good Sazerac if you wanted to buy either Peychauds or Creole Bitters and a little absinthe.

With some angostura or other aromantic bitters you could make a kind of Irish Rob Roy using the whiskey and martini: just a tiny amount of the Bianco with 8 times as much whiskey and a dash of bitters will do it.  With scotch i'd usually recommend using dry martini, but I think the Bianco would go quite well with Jamesons, I'd be interested to try it.

Angostura (or aromatic) bitters is a worthwhile investment in any case: just a drop in many drinks adds another dimension, even lemonade becomes much more refreshing and enjoyable.

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Image result for sidecar cocktail

This week we will be looking at the Sidecar - another WWI Parisian drink.  There are several different versions of this drink, mainly concerned with the ratio of brandy to triple sec, so I'll tell you my favourite, and then give you some alternatives so that you can come up with your own.  The beauty of this kind of drink is that you can play around with the ratios and styles to suit your taste exactly!

4 lemon wedges
1oz Cognac
1oz Triple Sec

The lemon wedges should be muddled in your shaker (more on that later), add the brandy and Triple Sec and shake and double strain.

You can use any triple sec for this drink:  Cointreau and Grand Marnier are the most popular (and great quality) brands.

The above is the "French school" style, with equal parts, but there is an "English School" style with 2 parts brandy to one part Triple Sec.  Please play around with it until you find what suits you.  I'm sure that eventually you will be sloshing it in by eye after you have had a few anyway!

I like to have a sugar rim around my Sidecar but it is by no means necessary.

A few techniques to cover here:

Whenever I talk about wedges, I am using an 8th wedge, so the whole lemon should be cut into 8 wedges from top to bottom (1/2, 1/2, 1/2).  In this case you could use 2 quarter wedges to the same job, but you might not get the same amount of juice out.

To pre-chill a glass either store it in the freezer (best) or the fridge, or you can fill it with crushed ice if you have access, or cubed ice with water up to the rim.  This last method should give you a chilled enough glass within a couple of minutes.  The colder the glass, the longer your drink will stay cool.

To muddle fruit you can use any flat ended object you like.  You can buy muddlers online for very little, but you could always use a rolling pin or the handle of a cooking utensil, then just press down hard multiple times until the fruit is mashed up and the juice extracted.  Unless otherwise stated leave the fruit where it is and build the drink on top of it.  It will either stay in the glass or be left behind when straining.

To shake a drink you can either go all out and buy a proper shaker, or you can use any of the following: Jam jar or other sauce jar, sports bottle, protein shaker, coffee flask or milk bottle.  Should you have nothing else, then any water tight sealable container will suffice.  Add all of the ingredients (in this case after muddling the lemon wedges in the container) add cubed ice - around 10-15 cubes should do it depending on the size of the container, seal it up and shake it like mad for about 10 seconds.

Straining a drink is easy enough:  if you are single straining then all you are attempting to achieve is to pour the liquid out whilst leaving any ice and fruit flesh behind - this can be easily achieved with the lid of whatever you are using to shake.  To double strain, do the same thing but hold a sieve over the glass you are pouring into to remove and small shards of ice or fruit pulp. A general rule of thumb is to single strain a stirred drink and double strain a shaken drink.

To rim a glass, rub a lime or lemon wedge around the rim of the glass and the roll the rim around a small plate of sugar or salt.  Whenever you rim a glass you are expected to drink from the glass itself and not through a straw.

Any question fire away!  Also if you have any events/dinners coming up and you want some help picking a drink to serve then let me know, I'll be sure to help.


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