Covid Cocktails 4

posted on 30 Dec 2020 | Blog

Hokay, taking a break from being awful arguing with strangers on the internet (seriously folks it's a filthy habit I'd rather I smoked) to restart back on my less-awful vice:

Covid Cocktails

For the winter holiday, I decided to do another round of Covid Cocktails. This time I'm trying to do something thematic - a focus on savory cocktails... and of course, some festive ones too, because it's that time of the year.

Covid cocktails 4 collage

Covid Cocktails, Round 4

Day 1

Starting off with a bang: a Long Island Iced Tea. Apparently I misheard Cara when she said "a half-shot of every white spirit from your speed-rail", and accidentally included a half-shot of whisky in here that wasn't supposed to be there - it's not a white spirit.

Anyhow, this introducing a new spirit into my cocktails - tequila. I'm using Espolòn Reposado. I don't know my tequilas at all, but as a reposado it has a fairly strong agave flavor that should help it stand out.

So, All The Booze:

  • 0.5oz vodka
  • 0.5oz white rum (Barardi)
  • 0.5oz whiskey (Crown Royal)
  • 0.5oz tequila (Espolòn Reposado)
  • 0.5oz triple sec (Cointreau)
  • 0.5oz gin (Collective Arts Artisinal Gin)
  • 0.5oz simple syrup
  • 1oz lemon
  • 1.5oz Coke Zero (because you can tell I care about my health)

Pour the coke into a tall glass with ice, shake the rest with ice and pour it into the glass over the coke, top with coke.

Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Long Island iced tea

Okay, people say it sneaks up on you. It does not. It is boozy boozy booze. But it's tasty booze. I could pound these back and fill myself with regret. All the nice flavors blend together, which feels like a bit of a waste of pretty good tequila and gin. But it's nice.

Behind the Bar with Cara Devine Video

Day 2

I'm trying to experiment with more savory drinks, so here's the granddaddy of savory, the Bloody Mary.

  • 2oz vodka
  • 2 barspoons lemon
  • 1 barspoon vegan Worcestershire
  • Half can of v8
  • N dashes Tabasco

Shake with ice, pour to glass rimmed w celery salt. Garnish with olives and celery.

Bloody Mary

I used to love a Caesar, and now that I'm vegetarian I still love the Bloody Mary. I love the way the flavors play together. But the celery salt rim has never worked for me. It's always too much. I've got to figure how to rim it just right.

I made a virgin one for my son -- he loves tomato juice. He was a champ about trying it... but yeah, he hated it.

Virgin Bloody Mary

I sipped his... It really is much worse without the booze, actually. The vodka is a surprisingly important part of the flavor profile.

Day 3

Covid Cocktails 4, day 3 - continuing the theme of savory twists on drinks, I tried salting a rim again, this time for a margarita.

  • 2oz reposado tequila
  • 1oz lime
  • 1oz triple sec

Shake with ice, pour to a glass rimmed with coarse salt.

Margarita

After my last experience with a salt-rimmed glass, I rimmed only half the edge this time so I could be choosy with each sip.

Good idea; I did not love the salt. The drink itself was nice - fruity and tangy, and I suppose the salt added contrast... But I generally avoided it.

On the plus side, I got to watch my 8-year-old dance around the kitchen to the music of Jimmy Buffett. She heard me humming margaritaville while I was mixing and so I explained about the song and put it on. She rather liked the tune.

Day 4

Not a Dark and Stormy. I'm not going to call it a "dark 'n' stormy" since that's a trademark of Gosling rum and I'm using Appleton, and apparently Gosling sues people over that. At a glance it's a Moscow Mule but with dark Jamaican rum instead of vodka, so I brought back the mule mug because why not? Build in glass:

  • 2 oz rum
  • 3 slices lime
  • press the rest of the lime
  • ice
  • fill with ginger beer

Stir.

not a dark 'n' stormy

I am shocked how well the Appleton Estate rum mixes with the ginger beer. Its brown-banana and molasses flavors goes so well with it.

So few drinks go all-in on rum funk and this one does it brilliantly. Strong Jamaican ginger beer + strong Jamaican rum, whodathunkit?

Behind the Bar with Cara Devine Video

Day 5

Another atypical cocktail ingredient arrives for the Gin Basil Smash.

Muddle 12 leaves Basil in the bottom of a shaker, add:

  • 2oz gin
  • 0.75oz lemon juice
  • 0.33oz simple syrup

Shake vigorously with ice, pour double-strained to a glass.

Garnish with basil.

gin basil smash

It was pretty good. The basil wasn't a strong flavour despite how much went in - it tasted like an oddly verdant gin sour. Or a strange mojito. Not bad, but not worth cleaning basil bits out of the shaker.

This is a newish invention, created in 2008 by bartender in Germany.

Day 6

A small changeup of the whiskey sour, I made a Tequila Sour.

  • 2oz reposado tequila
  • 1 oz lime
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Shake dry without ice in a shaker, then add ice and shake again. Double-strain to a rocks glass, then add

  • 1 dash angostura

tequila sour

It tasted pretty good. I think I prefer the whiskey sour though, the bakery-spice flavours of whiskey go better with the foam and bitters.

Day 7

Saw two different recipes for this, and it's weird... but I give you: Bruschetta Martini. Of the two different recipes, one was too complicated and the other was too simple... I should've gone all out and done the too-complicated one. Lesson learned.

First, create balsamic reduction by heating a few tbsp balsamic vinegar to reduce until thick. Then, in shaker, muddle 3 cherry tomatoes a 3 basil leaves.

Add to the shaker:

  • 3oz vodka
  • 2 barspoons olive brine
  • 0.75 oz lemon

Shake with ice.

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with the balsamic reduction, then the shaker double-strained to the glass. Add a dash of salt and pepper and garnish with basil and tomatoes.

bruschetta martini

I enjoyed it. The balsamic reduction was doing all the work though. It was nice and savory but it needed more going on. Maybe more tomatoes, maybe something else.

One recipe I saw basically called for making bruschetta and then straining it into the glass. That might work better. I'm half-tempted to buy some deli bruschetta and throw a shot-glass-full into my lemon squeezer and squeeze it into the shaker.

Day 8

The Tequila Sunrise.

Except my homemade pomegranate grenadine came out very dark, so this looks more Tequila Eclipse.

Shake with ice:

  • 1.5oz tequila
  • 0.75oz triple sec
  • 0.5oz lime
  • 2.5oz OJ

Strain to a Collins glass with ice

Then add 0.5oz grenadine.

tequila sunrise

I need a new solution for grenadine. This grenadine recipe comes out dark burgundy and then darkens further over days. I've read others say the same about homemade. Still tastes good; this was a great drink, with the pom softening the tart tangy citrus. But it looks like hell.

Day 9

Covid Cocktails 4, Day 9 - more salted rims, this time a Paloma. Some recipes use grapefruit soda, I went with fresh grapefruit and seltzer.

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 2.5 oz grapefruit juice
  • 0.5 oz lime
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

Shake, pour to salt-rimmed glass w ice, top with club soda.

paloma

Yeah, the photo isn't flattering because I kind of pooched rimming that glass, but it still tasted solid. I liked this. Nice, bright, grapefruit pop flavour with a salty twist. This is the first time I've felt like the salted rim added something. I made a second one the next day and my wife enjoyed it too.

Day 10

The most decadent one yet. I actually messed this up; I didn't realize I was supposed to whip the heavy cream. Erick Castro's Naughty Dog.

Build in glass with ice:

  • 1oz kahlua
  • 1.5oz dark Jamaican rum
  • balance of root beer

stir, then garnish with

  • whipped heavy cream
  • nutmeg

naughty dog

Yeah, it tastes how you'd expect. A rum root beer float. Actually, I usually find root beer floats unbearably sweet so this mess is actually way better - as silly as it is it's still not as sweet as a dollop of ice cream in your root beer. The nutmeg and rum flavours nicely complement the creamy fizzy vanilla of its main body.

But yeah, I wish I'd done whipped cream instead of just pouring the heavy cream on top. In my defense, I was cribbing from How To Drink and Greg does the same there.

How To Drink Video

Skip to 19m57s, this vid contains multiple variations on the White Russian.

Day 11

The climax of savory drinks is here, I found a small bottle of Maggi and made cocktail youtuber Cara Devine's take on the "michelada".

Michelada is a series of extrapolations from the Mexican tradition of adding lime and salt to beer into something spicy and savory.

There are a million variations of this, but I'm going to approximate Cara's:

Rim a Collins glass with Tajin seasoning,

then add:

  • 0.5 oz tequila
  • 2 oz low-sodium V8
  • 2 barspoons Maggi seasoning
  • 2 barspoons vegan Worcestershire
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 0.33 oz simple syrup
  • N dashes Tabasco

Then fill the glass halfway with Mexican beer (I'm using Ace Hill Mexican Lager), and fill it to the top with ice.

michelada

This knocked my socks off. This is the drink I was looking for when I started playing with savory drinks. It is an explosion of flavours.

It is savory and hearty and fizzy and spicy and tangy in all the right ways... and I cheated, using low-sodium v8 instead of straight tomato juice, cutting back the savory sauce pours (holy crap Cara puts a half-ounce of both Worcestershire and Maggi in hers!), and using a reposado tequila instead of a mescal. Still amazing.

Hat's off to ms Devine.

Behind the Bar with Cara Devine Video

Day 12

A simple one, Treacle; a sort of rum old fashioned invented by Dick Bradsel, famous inventor of the espresso martini.

Build in rocks glass w ice:

  • 2oz dark rum
  • 0.33oz syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Float 0.5 oz Apple juice on top.
  • Garnish w orange twist.

treacle

I liked this one. A nice way to take a strong, flavorful rum and dress it up a bit but still let it take centre stage. Needed a bit more of the bitters though.

Wife was less fond of its boozyness, but warmed to it a bit after the ice softened it up a little.

Day 13

I made followed the "how to drink" recipe for hot spiked Apple cider... Well, sort of. Badly.

Simmer for a while:

  • 8oz apple cider
  • 1 clove
  • 1 thick slice lemon

Pour 4 oz to a glass with

  • 2 oz whisky
  • garnish w lemon slice and cinnamon stick.

hot spiked apple cider

Yeah, Canadian whisky was the wrong choice here. Combined with lemon, it just tasted bad and medicinal. I'm not sure the lemon is a good idea, but I know Greg is right that bourbon is the better spirit for this.

How To Drink Video

Day 14

Okay, my big finale of my 4th series of cocktails: Eggnog. From scratch.

I'm including recipe, but just use the Babish one linked in comments. And yeah, there's raw eggs in this, which means health risks. Caveat bibitor if you're following along at home.

Separate 4 eggs - one mixing bowl of yolks, one mixing bowl of whites. Set whites aside.

In the yolks bowl with a hand mixer:

  • add 1/4 cup sugar while mixing until pale
  • slowly add 1 cup steaming hot milk while mixing

Then,

  • transfer yolk bowl to heat
  • add 1 clove
  • bring to 170F (NOT BOILING, mine overheated) then remove from heat
  • add 1 cup heavy cream and whisk

Strain, cover, and chill for at least 4 hours...

After 4h, take your whites bowl, add 1tbsp sugar, mix with a mixer until stiff peaks.

Then fold the bowls together.

Add booze and flavors to taste. I did 0.5oz of maple syrup, a teaspoon of vanilla to sweeten, so I could give it to my kids if any were adventurous enough. None of them would touch the stuff.

For my personal drink, I went with

  • 1oz rum
  • 0.5oz galliano vanilla liquer (I'd have done bourbon if I had any)

Eggnog

This was made after a too-hearty Boxing Day dinner. I am regretting 2 glasses of egg. Ugh. It's sweet and creamy, but it separates too fast. I think it tastes good, but I can't tell objectively. I do know the separation between the creamy parts and the liquidy parts is annoying.

I think it happened because I overcooked the yolks - my oven is awful, it takes forever and then overshoots. I have a 3-part Maytag set and I hate each piece for its own unique reason. I've leftovers, I'll have another drink tomorrow when I'm not already stuffed.

2 days later

I had some leftover home-made eggnog, with a shot of Jamaican rum. It was excellent.

It had separated into a yellow spongy foam on top of liquid, but easily whisked back together. Poured to a glass, added my shot. It was at once thicker and lighter than its store-bought counterparts, and less cloyingly-sweet. The rum nicely complemented the creamy egg flavors.

On the other hand, I was queasy for days... but that could be general Christmas dinner self-destruction. Again, caveat bibitor.

Basics with Babish / Greg from How To Drink Crossover video

You'll notice that Greg also offers a super-simplified version of eggnog, basically chuck an egg in a shaker and add creamy stuff and booze. I have not tried that but it sounds way easier.

Final Thoughts

This round was super fun, experimenting with new things and new flavors that I hadn't tried before. By far my favourite this time around was Devine's take on the Michelada. The dark and stormyNon-Trademarked Mixture of Rum and Ginger Beer is an easy one to make if you've already got a Jamaican rum handy (and if it's a Gosling's then you even get to call it by the name).

Special nods go to the eggnog and the bruschetta martini for taking me out of my comfort zone. The bruschetta martini was a very okay drink, but it also had a wicked amount of potential for growth. I fully intend to come back to that one some day to see if I can develop it into something cool.

My timing is awful though, since I finished just in time for New Year's, so I may have more posts coming for sparkling wine cocktails.

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