Covid Cocktails 5

posted on 24 Jan 2021 | Blog

Even though I just finished a round of cocktails around Christmas, in honor of New Year's Eve I pivoted right into Covid Cocktails round 5. The main reason was sparkling wine, so there's a lot of it here.

Covid cocktails 5 collage

14 Days of New Year's Cocktails

Day 1

The Pineapple Fizz.

  • 1.5oz white rum
  • 0.5oz dark rum
  • 1.25oz pineapple juice
  • 0.75oz lime juice
  • 0.75oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes angostura

Shake with ice,

pour to Collins' w ice,

top with club soda

First off, let me just thank my wife for the silicone big block ice cube tray for Christmas. Look at this absolute unit. Big cubes aren't just for show, they're important in the shaker too, they provide some real weight when smashing things around in there.

Pineapple Fizz

The drink is fun. Tangy and funky with the rum, Angostura, and pineapple flavors playing together.

The lime got lost a bit, but that's okay - it's still adding things to the drink even when it's not standing out. Wife said it was nice but her favourites are still the sours where the citrus takes center stage.

Aside, I'm not planning on doing a full 14 days of cocktails this time, but maybe 6-9 of them or until I run out of recipes (edit: I did the full 14). We just picked up a bottle of champagne for new year's so I've got a bunch of things I want to try.

Steve the Bartender Video

Day 2

Covid Cocktails 5, day 2: in honor of MPP Rod Phillips' return to Canada and resignation, a festive seasonal drink:

A mojito.

In a glass, add: - 1oz lemon juice - 0.5oz simple - Several leaves mint

Muddle the mint.

Add: - 2oz white Cuban rum - Ice - Seltzer to top.

Stir, garnish w mint

Mojito

Properly a mojito calls for lime, not lemon, but I was out. Mojitos were my go-to drink on trips to Cuba and one of the only real cocktails I had a lot of before this year.

I think an important part is that the drink needs to sit for a bit for the mint to really seep in.

First swig right after making it is just a Rum Collins with a mint garnish smushed against your nose. But if you let the mint work in, it's very nice.

Of course, in the hot Cuban sun that means a super watered down drink as all the ice melts, so I don't know how this works.

Also, again thanks to my wife for the fancy silicone ice forms kit for Christmas - observe the spherical ice non-cubes!

Day 3

Now we're getting into the cocktails I made on New Year's Eve, because champagne. Well, sparkling wine.

First, the barracuda.

In shaker - 1.5oz Cuban white rum - 0.5oz Galliano - 1.5oz pineapple - 0.25oz lime

shake, strain to glass, and top with

  • 1oz brut sparkling wine

Barracuda

This is nice. The vanilla is a bit subdued, so it's kind of a fizzy pineapple mimosa - like a less-sweet, wine-tinged version of the Pineapple Fizz I did the other day. The rum is mostly a spike. Made it for my wife and she enjoyed it.

Double-straining into a champagne flute is really hard, and made a mess all over the counter-top. After that I completely forgot to garnish with a slice of pineapple.

Day 4

We get weird with NYE cocktails, with Difford's "Ramos Chocolate Fizz".

In shaker:

  • 1.5oz gin
  • 1.0oz chocolate liquer
  • barspoon orange flower water
  • barspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 1oz single cream

Dry shake,

Then shake with ice.

Double-strain to flute,

Top with

  • 1oz sparkling wine

Ramos Chocolate
Fizz

Daughter was curious and sniffed it as I was pouring it. Her nose wrinkled and she exclaimed "It smells like unicorn vomit!".

Having drank it... she's not wrong. Gin fizz foam but with added vanilla and chocolate and more orange flower water. Chocolate and gin & very strong floral notes and champagne fizz... It's kind of a hot mess.

Maybe I need better ingredients - better wine, 1.5oz proper white creme de cacao instead of the 1.0oz 360 double-chocolate vodka.

Either way, orange flower water is pretty strong and gives it a very floral taste over the chocolate, especially combined with the gin herbs. It kind of reminded me of Walker's Chocolates' lavender-flavored milk-chocolate truffles. I wasn't a fan of those either.

Maybe cleaning up after Twilight Sparkle is somebody's thing, but it isn't mine.

Day 5

The classic sparkling wine cocktail, the French 75, AKA the Soixante Quinze, named after the artillery weapon.

In a shaker: - 1.5oz gin - 0.75oz lemon - 0.5oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, pour to glass, top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist.

So it's basically a gin sour with champagne on top.

French 75

Considering how similar it is to a Tom Collins I expected not to like it... I was wrong. This is fantastic. The gin shines through the bubbly and the flavors come together really well.

I did cheat a bit - I served it in a flute instead of a Collins glass with ice, and I gave it a quick stir with the bar-spoon after topping it up.

Still fantastic.

No ragrets.

Day 6

Of course we can't do champagne cocktails without the brunch fixture, the mimosa.

  • 3oz OJ
  • 3oz sparkling wine
  • cherry for garnish

mimosa

It's what you'd expect - the OJ and sparkling wine goes together perfectly nice. Sweet and bubbly and citrus. Very light. The cherry does add a nice note - I really like these Amarena cherries I got for Christmas, oozing purple to the bottom.

Also, cherries don't float, it's standing on a skewer.

Day 7

The old Cuban.

In a shaker:

Muddle 6+ leaves mint,

add

  • 0.5oz simple syrup,

let stand while hunting for ingredients.

Add:

  • 0.75oz lime
  • 1.5oz Cuban rum
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice, pour to glass

top with sparkling wine,

garnish with mint.

So it's basically a Mojito Royale.

old Cuban

Tasty. Letting the mint sit in the syrup released its flavors well. Strong mint flavors this time, which nicely complimented the lime and sparkling wine.

Although double-straining into a flute sucks and a lot ended up on the counter.

Day 8

Taking a break from watching the last days of Rome for another light mimosa-esque drink, this time with black currant - the kir royale.

Build in glass:

  • 1oz creme de cassis
  • top with sparkling wine

stir, garnish with raspberries

kir royale

Not much to it, perfectly nice, sweet, tasty drink. The liqueur has kind of a forgettable non-specific berry flavor, and that mixes well with the bubbly.

Day 9

Covid Cocktails 5, day 9: My final sparkling wine New Year's drink - I think I made this on the 4th with the last of the bubbly... the poinsettia.

Chill all ingredients in freezer,

build in a glass:

  • 0.75oz triple sec
  • 3oz cranberry cocktail
  • fill to top with bubbly

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

poinsettia

Greg from How to Drink called this kind of one-note and boring, but it's a good note.

The triple sec adds a fun tang to the cranberry, the champagne fizz puts it together nicely, and the smell of the rosemary complements the sweet drink very well. I liked this a lot.

How to Drink video

Day 10

Gin and tonic. Which I've had before at a bar, but this time I'm using proper ingredients. build in rocks glass over ice:

  • 2oz gin
  • 5oz fever tree cucumber tonic water (or whatever, I'm guesstimating)
  • lemon twist and wedge for garnish

gin and tonic

Very nice. So many flavors going on... the cucumber tonic water isn't as bitter as some, and adds some nice subtle cucumber notes to the gin and quinine flavors. The lemon nose from the garnish is a good opener too. Lime would be better but I'd already started a lemon.

Day 11

I return to the Tequila Sunrise with the executive sunrise.

Build in a glass: - 2oz reposado tequila - 5oz orange juice

stir, then add:

  • 3 barspoons creme de cassis on top

executive sunrise

It definitely looked better than the black sun I made last time around. Creme de cassis left lovely swirls in the drink as it sinks to the bottom.

Unfortunately, this means the best flavor is at the bottom. OJ and tequila alone isn't great. But stirring would ruin the effect. Maybe a better OJ like fresh cara cara would make it work, and scale the whole thing down.

Or I should just use a straw.

Day 12

The eastside, which is a variation on a southside, which is a gin sour with mint.

With a peeler take 2 lengthwise slices of cucumber

In a shaker,

  • 6 leaves mint
  • 1 long cucumber slice
  • 0.5oz simple syrup

Muddle, then add

  • 2oz gin
  • 1oz lime
  • ice

Shake, pour to glass, garnish with cucumber roll.

eastside

So it's basically a gin sour with added mint and cucumber. After my G&T, I liked the idea of cucumber with gin. Unfortunately, I couldn't taste the cucumber. So it was more of a southside - a minty gin sour... which is a flavor I liked better with rum.

The roll garnish fell into the drink, and I pulled it out and ate it. It was surprisingly good.

Maybe I need a different kind of cucumber for this, or put more thicker cucumber into the shaker. I dunno.

Behind the Bar with Cara Devine Video

Day 13

The Honeysuckle Daiquiri. A rum-based variant of the Bees Knees.

  • 2oz Cuban rum
  • 0.66oz lemon juice
  • 0.33oz orange juice
  • 0.5oz honey syrup

Shake with ice,

double-strain to glass,

garnish with mint.

honeysuckle daiquiri

I thought I would like this more than the Bees Knees since all the fruit and honey is up... and the first sip was lovely... but as I got further into it, it had this weird funky decay flavor to it, despite fresh ingredients. Well, canned concentrated OJ but fresh from the freezer. Just the combination of honey, rum, and orange came out... wrong.

Again, I suppose I should be squeezing fresh oranges but I don't need another bar-tool (they don't fit in the lemon squeezer very well).

Day 14

Okay, usually I end with a bang but I kind of started this round on a whim with less time to research and hunt for ingredients because sparkling wine, so my final cocktail is really just about using up stuff taking up space in my fridge.

So, I made a simple Vermouth Cassis - a cocktail where the name kind of makes the ingredients obvious. Build in a glass over ice:

  • 3oz dry French vermouth
  • 0.75oz creme de cassis
  • 3oz club soda
  • garnish with cherries because why not?

vermouth cassis

It tastes like a ice-wine pop, with a hint of cherry and black currant. Not bad. The cherries were a good idea, added a bit more to the black currant of the cassis. I'd make this again if I ever had leftover vermouth and cassis to use up.

Final Thoughts

This was a fun round because I was trying not to overthink things this time. Now after 4 rounds of cocktails I have a decent liquor cabinet and I'm getting a decent idea what works and what doesn't (in most cases, no idea what the heck happened with the Honeysuckle Daiquiri).

Basically I bought a bottle of bubbly and thought "hey, I know lots of recipes that I can make with this, I should see how many new cocktails I can do". I actually mixed up the honey syrup to make a few honey-and-sparkling-wine cocktails but then ran out of the sparkling wine.

Anyhow, stand-out favourites were the poinsettia (honestly, the garnish plays a big part in this, I love rosemary), and the French 75.

The barracuda is definitely a solid drink for the pineapple-lover in your life and is a nice upgrade to pineapple fizz. And I'll always love mojitos, especially now that I know how to properly get the mint flavor to really stand out, and their royale cousin the old Cuban classes it up.

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