I like booze. I like champagne, sweet wine, craft beer, and cocktails. I'm constantly seeking our new micro or craft brews to try,and buying champagne to fancy up ordinary dinners. I especially like making cocktails, and drawing inspiration from Mad Men, vintage cocktails. I've conquered the Singapore Sling, the Bahama Mama, and Rum Runners. If it involves gin, I like it.
The husband and I have built up quite the alcohol cabinet, from the basics (gin, vodka, tequila, rum), to the less likely (blue curacuo, cointreau, creme de cacao, benedictine), to a plethora of mixers (grenadine, Rose's sweetened lime juice, oj, pineapple juice, and club soda). Basically, we have pretty much whatever you need to make almost any cocktail.
So when we went out to a new restaurant/lounge and I tried their Ginger Mayhem, a strongly ginger-flavored gin cocktail, I knew I needed to try mixing it up at home. It's different than many other cocktails out there, but in a good way. The ginger is spicy and warm, but plays well with the botanical flavors of the gin, especially with good quality, small batch gin.
I've tried this with store-bought ginger beer and homemade ginger syrup. Each version is good, though the ginger syrup gives it a bolder, spicier, ginger flavor, whereas the ginger beer is a bit more mellow and cool. Either way, ditch happy hour and make these cocktails at home! :)
I like to play around with using lemon juice, bottled key lime juice, and fresh lime juice, with each variation slightly changing the final drink. You could also try Rose Sweetened Lime Juice for a sweeter drink. I also play around with different varieties of gin, form Tanquery, to Hendricks, to small batch Leopolds; again, each variety changes the end result, and all have been a success. That's what I love about homemade cocktails--the ability to tweak each drink to your own specific tastes.
With summer right around the corner, and finally some warm spring weather, this is a cocktail I'll be enjoying again and again.
Source: Inspired by the Ginger Mayhem at Ra Pour
3 shots ginger syrup or ginger beer
2 shots gin
1/2 shot lemon or lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a low ball glass with cubed ice.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The husband and I are big Mad Men fans and, as a result, we've become increasingly interested in cocktails. I'm not talking Cosmos or Appletinis though; we like old fashioned drinks, preferably made with gin, like Singapore Slings and Sidecars. One of my favorite cocktails at a new restaurant/lounge nearby is their Ginger Mayhem; it's a gin-based drink with a strong ginger kick, made with their own ginger simple syrup.
I've been experimenting with creating the Ginger Mayhem at home, and my first tries used store-bought Ginger Beer, which turned out good results, but not a strong enough ginger flavor. I figured it couldn't be too hard to make my own ginger syrup, and after a quick Google search confirmed this, I was in the kitchen, boiling chopped ginger, water, and sugar.
Ginger syrup is incredibly easy to make, results in a nice golden-amber, spicy syrup, that can be used in cocktails or in homemade ginger ale (just pour it over ice with club soda). I poured mine in the Ginger Beer bottle I saved once the store-bought soda was gone.
Homemade Ginger Syrup
Source: Imbibe Magazine
2 cups unpeeled ginger, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
Place all of the ginger in a food processor and process until ground.
Transfer the ginger to a large stockpot and add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to medium and let simmer, uncovered, for an hour to an hour and a half. The liquid will reduce to half.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a large pitcher. You may need to strain it twice. Once the syrup has been strained, pour through a funnel into a bottle or lidded jar. Store in the refrigerator.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
The husband and I love sushi, and we often go out for rolls on Friday night. I've even tried making sushi at home before, and while it taster good, the effort required to put it together wasn't worth it for me. But then I found these sushi bowls on The Crumbly Cookie; I liked the idea of all the sushi ingredients and flavors combined simply in a bowl, but without the hassle of making rolls. Because really, what I wind up making is a mess.
The husband loved these sushi bowls he asked me to make them at least once a week. He was impressed how easy it was to put them together and the lack of a mess in the kitchen (I cook, he cleans!). :)
Make sure to get good-quality, sushi-grade fish since you'll be eating it raw. We like to go to 99 Ranch Market and pick out what looks the best. I used tuna steak this time, but we're thinking of trying salmon belly next time.
Source: The Crumbly Cookie
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice, rinsed well
3 cups water
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons wasabi
1/4 pound raw fish
green onions, chopped
nori, torn into small pieces
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional: toast them)
Combine rice and water in a rice cooker and cook. Or cook in a covered pot on the stovetop. Once rice is cooked, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Transfer the rice to a large wooden or glass bowl (I used a large melamine bowl and it worked fine) and pour the vinegar mixture over the top. Fold and cut through the rice with a paddle or spatula to coat each grain with the vinegar mixture. Continue folding, cutting and fanning until the rice is room temperature-do not put in the refrigerator.
Combine the soy sauce and wasabi and pour over the cooled rice. Add in the fish, green onions, nori, and sesame seeds. Gently fold together to combine with the rice.
Serve with additional soy sauce and wasabi on the side.