So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.
They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.
Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!
So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!
Escape from the cold this winter with 5 Exotic tasting treats, courtesy of our dear old friend: Alcohol…
Christmas is literally days away now (possibly hours if you’re a day or two late reading this) and in no way am I feeling festive.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the time spent seeing family members but it’s not the same when you grow up. The excitement goes and the headaches set in (siblings having kids will do that to you).
But one thing I’ve always enjoyed, of course, is the alcohol. I love to experiment with Cranberry sauce every year, last year was simply Cognac laced Cranberry Sauce. This year however I’m going for something a little more adventurous: Grand Marnier Orange & Cranberry Sauce.
I will share that recipe after Christmas as I would like to make sure I get it right before sharing with you all (egg and face and all that).
Until then I will be wishing my days away fantasising about being on a desert island somewhere, with an endless supply of rum and fruit juices…
To help me I’ll be sampling a few summer-style cocktails to help me with my isolated fantasy of a tropical Christmas.
Here below are 4 cocktails, all different to the usual Christmas themed drinks you’re all fully up to date on, but all of which will still add touch of Christmas spirit on your festivities… Enjoy them my friends…
1 measure Rum
1 measure Gin
1 measure Pineapple Juice
Top up with Soda Water/Prosecco (both optional)
Combine and shake ingredients over ice.
Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and serve with a straw!
This drink calls for an optional top up with Soda water. This is purely to lengthen the drink and make it last a little longer on those long summer nights. However this time of year a slight dash or two of Prosecco in place of the Soda wouldn’t go amiss… I’m saving this one for the evening!
1 ½ measures Vodka
½ measure Midori
2 measures Pineapple Juice
Add to a shaker full of ice and shake well – for around 30 seconds.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.
The long slender glass really lends itself to the aesthetics of this drink. It’s a simple and effective mixture that is perfect for transporting you away on those loud and rowdy afternoons with the kids!
1 measure White Rum
1 measure Mandarin Brandy
1 measure Orange Juice
1 measure Pineapple Juice
Splash of grenadine
Shake together everything and do so until well-chilled.
Strain into a tall, well-chilled, glass and garnish with pineapple wedge and cherry.
The only drink on here with an obscure liqueur. The mandarin brandy might be hard to find, but try using a sweet syrup version. here in the UK you can purchase mandarin segments in syrup by the tin. Try mixing some cognac in with the syrup from these tins and you have a wonderful home-made hack!
1 measure white rum
1 measure amaretto
½ measure blue curacao
½ measure pineapple juice
Top with Soda water
Shake together all the ingredients, except the soda water, with ice.
Strain into a well-chilled tall glass.
Top up with soda water.
Serve immediately and with a straw.
Again you can substitute the Soda water with Prosecco but the beauty of this drink is the crisp blue colour it exhumes…
#5Risky Whisky Ricky
2 measures Scotch Whisky
1 measure fresh lime juice
Layer the whisky and then the lime juice over ice in a tall thin glass.
Top up with soda water.
Garnish with a lime slice and serve with a straw.
Simple and yet elegant to a fault. This cocktail is so simple it can be built in a glass by your pet dog. Ok so maybe not quite. It is a simple cocktail mind you and its simplicity is what makes it a perfect getaway from the overbearing in-laws. Try a few of these and they’ll seem far less scary…
So there you go 4 cocktails to give you an escapists advantage this Christmas.
Sit back, enjoy, and from me here at the Fervent Shaker; Have a Very Merry Christmas!
So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.
So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.
There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!
Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:
#1Homemade Fruity Winter Punch
2L Sparkling Wine
Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise
Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
Add sliced fruit and chill well.
If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.
500ml Pimms #1
1.5L Apple Juice
Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges
Add all one by one and stir well.
Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.
This months’ theme, as you may already be aware, is all about Infusions! That includes alcohol and sugar syrup infusions and in some cases both! This post, a post that precedes my week of infused vodka, is all about a sugar syrup recipe and the fresh new cocktail I created with it! I’m sharing both the recipe for the syrup and the cocktail and hope that at least a few of you try them both out and enjoy the drink! So, without further ado, here is my Blueberry Maple Syrup and my very own original cocktail: The Nova Scotia Sipper!
Blueberry Maple Syrup
200 grams Blueberries
230 ml Maple Syrup
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Simmer until the blueberries soften and begin to burst.
At this point, gently mash the blueberries (not too much) and allow to simmer on a low heat for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain out the solids. Discard them.
If using this recipe for desserts you can mix in another 200grams of fresh blueberries and make a glorious syrup for you pancakes…
Cocktail: Nova Scotia Sipper
25ml Plantation 3 star white rum
12.5ml Blueberry-maple syrup
5ml Lime Juice
50ml Apple & Passionfruit Juice
Garnish: Skewered Lime twist & Blueberries*
Muddle the blueberries with the rum in a Boston cocktail shaker.
Fill with ice.
Add the other ingredients, top up with ice if needed.
Shake well, for around 15 seconds, or until the tin ices over.
Strain into a sling glass full to the brim with crushed ice.
Garnish & serve with 2 straws…
*this is my preferred garnish, although like the picture shows you can garnish it however you like, it’s all about the theatre for this cocktail…
So there you have one of the nicest cocktails i’ve ever made! It does have a slight twist to the flavour profile, thanks to the anise fro the Pernod, but used in such a small amount it merely coats the drink and the other flavours still make their presence known! Hope you all enjoy the recipe, feel free to tweak it if needed and please do let me know what you think! Until next time!!!
Whether you’re aware of it or not, if you’re an avid fan of cocktails then the chance are you’ve probably consumed an infused alcohol or sugar syrup at least once…
DON’T PANIC! This is not the end of the world, in fact it means you’ve more than likely consumed a great tasting cocktail!
After all remember that hibiscus Kir Royale you had last new years’ or that blueberry mojito at last years’ summer fete? Well drinks like these, more often than not, make use of infused alcohols or sugar syrups!
So as you probably guessed it, the next theme for this blog is Infusion! Whether it’s a sophisticated spicy vodka or a simple syrup with a touch of fruit there will always be a place in the world of cocktails and mixology for infused ingredients!
Starting with this introduction and ending with 10 of the more ‘odd’ infusion recipes out there, the next two months will showcase some of the best infusion recipes available and all their recipes will be divulged, allowing you to recreate (and/or tweak?) them to your hearts content!
So what exactly is an infusion?
There are three types of infusion recipe that I’ll be covering during the course of this theme:
Alcohol Infusions – Infusion recipes that involve a plain alcohol (like vodka) and result in either a straight up favoured vodka, or a flavoured liqueur (a spirit with a lower abv % than the base vodka)…
Basically this type of infusion is simply adding the chosen ingredients into a base alcohol like vodka and leaving it to steep (or sit) in that spirit for a required amount of time. Eventually the base spirit will draw the flavour profile of those ingredients out and into the liquid. This method can create a range of fantastic ingredients from complicated spicy vodkas to fun and colourful candy flavours!
Sugar Syrup Infusions – infusion recipes that involve the addition of flavour to a simple 2:1 or 1:1 ratio sugar syrup.
This second infusion type takes less time than the alcohol infusion but the end product does have a significantly shorter life-span. This process generally involves first creating your own (plain) sugar syrup as a base before adding a chosen flavour into the mix and allowing the flavours of the chosen ingredients to cook out and infuse the syrup.
Agua Fresca – Or fresh water. This method of infusing fresh water with fruits and vegetables is favoured in Mexico and was even covered in one of my posts a year or so ago (see here). This method is similar to that of alcohol only you leave the fruit in the water and serve immediately!
As a side note: I’ll also be looking at the creation of certain liqueur types, at least a way of re-creating them at home. These include liqueurs like limoncello and triple sec…
Hopefully that should have cleared up the two basic types of infusion I’ll be covering throughout the next 7-8 weeks and with any luck you’ll find some new and amazing recipes for you to try in your next batch!
Thank you for reading this post, it is a mere introductory post but I would dream of leaving you without a recipe you can get practicing with:
Homemade Blueberry Sugar Syrup
100 grams Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
100 grams sugar*
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 tablespoon vodka
Combine the blueberries, water & sugar in a saucepan and heat gently (low heat).
Stir often and after the sugar is dissolved (should take about 5-6 minutes) turn the heat up to medium. Continue to stir.
Whilst the syrup is boiling gently the blueberries will start to burst and shortly after the mixture should visibly thicken – take the mixture of the heat.
Strain the pulp and fruit excess out using a simple strainer. Gently press the fruit to get more juice out of them but do not press to hard as you’ll end up with a cloudy mixture.
Leave to cool and once it has cooled: stir in the lemon juice.
As an optional step you can also stir in a tablespoon of vodka. This won’t change the flavour profile of the syrup but it will allow it to keep for longer (it should add another 2-3 weeks onto the 4 weeks you get as standard).
Once the syrup has cooled and you’ve added in the other ingredients, cover and store in the fridge.
This sweet, fruity syrup has a host of uses, both in drinks and food. Its simple recipe is easy to follow and it acts as a great base recipe for you to tweak and add in other ingredients. This recipe can also be followed for other soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, simply use 100 grams of the selected fruit instead of the blueberries. Or a mixture of several to create a summer berry syrup (just don’t go over the 100 gram amount as it will not result in a well-balanced end product.
*in the UK granulated white sugar is our easiest to source ingredient, but you can use demerara sugar or maple syrup to give you a richer, deeper end product. If using maple syrup you need only use 75ml of syrup and 40ml of water – as maple syrup has a higher water content than solid sugar.
So all that leaves me to say is goodbye to the month of Tiki cocktails, and hello to the next 7-8 weeks of glorious infusion related articles and recipes! I’ll even be sure to throw in some great cocktails that make use of an infused ingredient!!!
The origin of that great tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai, is murky water at best. To fully understand the where, when, who, why and how of the matter you have to go all the way back to the 1930’s!
As it stands the where and when of the original Mai Tai is pretty much set in stone; it’s the ‘who’ that’s the biggest query…
So let’s state for a fact: The Mai Tai was created in California back in the early 1900’s and was created by one of two cocktail legends: Victor ‘Trader Vic’ Bergeron or Ernest ‘Don the Beachcomber’ Gantt.
I won’t regale you with their two highly intriguing stories, at least no more than to say that Trader Vic’s story is the more plausible (and also sounds more naturally true). That said, if you want to read Vic’s or Don’s Mai Tai origin stories then click here…
Arguably the most important factor in deciding who got the plaudits for the creation of the Mai Tai is that there are Trader Vic restaurants/bars across the world, and yet the same cannot be said for don the beachcomber establishments…
That result for them both has led to Trader Vic’s being the go to establishment for truly authentic tiki themed bars/restaurants and, by way of necessity; they also stock one of the wealthiest collection of tiki cocktails (Click here for a link to the cocktail menu of Trader Vic’s London branch)…
So why are tiki cocktails a thing? Well when they first came about they accompanied some fantastic food recipes that were Polynesian inspired and boasted some bold and wonderful flavours. Now both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic translated the flavour combinations of their food into their drinks. This led to some stunning, and some strong, tiki cocktails entering the world of mixology and becoming synonymous with both American and tropical culture since…
A brief history in a timely fashion (yes this will be quick)
The tiki cocktail started with the opening of the very first ‘tiki’ restaurant back in 1934. Regardless of who invented the Mai Tai, it is clear to see that Don Beach was the first person to start mixing fresh syrups, juices and rum. This practice is what makes cocktail a true tiki cocktail and was carried out by both Vic and beach throughout the renaissance of the tiki cocktail, leading to some of the great cocktails we now see plastered across almost every menu in every bar we ever go to!
Of course huge events like the world wars and American prohibition all had extremely potent effects on the course of the tiki cocktail, whether they precede the tiki era or simply occurred during their height. Inevitably the novelty of tiki cocktails and their almost teleportation-like effects wore off and they fell out of fashion during the 1960’s – mainly due to the Vietnam war and an increased sensitivity to indigenous peoples and; the former taking away the ideals of living out your days on a beach paradise pretty much nailed the coffin of the tiki culture firmly shut.
Fear Not! Like a phoenix from the ashes the tiki cocktail is back in full force (hurrah). The best thing about reboots is the ability to do something right. Mostly.
Tiki cocktails are certainly on a rise, and this is probably buoyed on by the astonishing firework of a rise that rum is currently experiencing. Although, as I have mentioned briefly in my earlier posts tiki cocktails of the present day are experimenting with other spirits…
This current trend of craft cocktails taking on the tiki cocktails and introducing new and exciting directions, shows how far the cocktails of the tiki theme have come since their rather humble beginnings…
So from their creation stemming from the blood of the first Mai Tai, tiki cocktails evolved to include some rather stunning concoctions. Granted there are some that may not give you the best of evenings but if we’re honest with ourselves, drinking absinthe in copious amounts is never a decent decision…
Look out for some of the best recipes from across the internet, from Classic Mai Tai’s to odd little Tequila-drenched Pina coladas, there is bound to be one cocktail for all tastes…
As a final note: This week will signal the end of my Tiki-Themed month and over the following couple of months I’ll be looking at something a little different. Keep an eye out near the end of the week for some (possibly) exciting news!
And here, finally, we have our 4th section of rum: Spiced. This is arguably the most important section of this list as the ‘spice’ in these rums can be what gives a tiki cocktail its kick!
There are a couple of rums on here you might need to scour online shops for, but for the most part the rums in this list are readily available in your local supermarket/off licence!
Kraken Spiced Dark Rum (USA) £21.95 – The Whisky Exchange
This 40% black spiced rum is somewhat of a genius. Its quality is unmistakable, earmarking it for greatness in the eyes of rum-tasters. But what really sets it apart from every other bottle of rum on the supermarket shelf is its old-style bottle shape. The traditional handle-necked bottle invokes visions of pirates and the romance often associated with the idea of a free life at sea.
Whilst the bottle makes it stand out, it does so knowing full well that the gloriously thick, molasses based alcohol contained within can more than hold its own; one of the only spiced black rums at home being sipped neat as it is swirling around a glass full of lime and cola. This is a perfect topper in a tiki cocktail too! Especially when you do not want to set the house on fire, but still want some theatre to your drink!
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Made in the USA from Caribbean rum and named after the mythical giant squid-like beast, Kraken rum is fantastic; a black spiced rum that is extremely reasonably priced! What’s more, for a limited time only, the whisky exchange is selling a special pack that includes an awesome looking mason-style glass! Perfect for Kraken’ your bottle open when you get in! Excuse the pun – Sorry, not sorry.
Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum (Jamaica) £17-20 Sainsbury’s
One of the favourites of my best mate at university, this rum truly has stood the test of time. In the past 10 years I’ve seen it go from strength to strength and literally fly of the shelves!
Perfect for combining with a mixer for a quick drink, this rum is often overlooked in its ability to fill out a cocktail or two. Regardless of your feelings towards it, Captain Morgans Original Spiced Rum is a fantastic addition to any ones tiki-cabinet. Try substituting it into your next Mai Tai, it won’t taste like a classic mai tai, but it will be something a little special I’ll tell you that for nothing!
Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (Guyana) £20 – Tesco
Another original spiced rum, Sailor Jerry’s fits into the ‘classic’ tiki choice section as it comes under one of the mandates set out in my first tiki cocktail post: It’s from Guyana!
Although Sailor Jerry’s has changed its recipe several times, and some consider Kraken to be more akin to the recipe everyone loved, this rum is still something very, very special. If you’re not a fan of Captain Morgans, for whatever reason – I’m not one to judge – then you should definitely be setting your sights on this classic tiki-suited spiced rum…
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Ever tried a spiced mojito? Well you’re missing out! Try this recipe out the next time you have a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s knocking about…
This is the second Bacardi rum to make it into one of my top 5 lists, and it is by far the best of the bunch! I tried this a year or two back and it certainly did not disappoint! Combining a rich hearty gold rum with the heart of charred oak barrels this rum is smooth, spiced and even has a tang of smokiness about it! Wonderful in a Cuba Libre or ‘your own tweak’ on a dark n stormy ‘like’ cocktail this rum is best mixed with other ingredients for sure, but make use of it when creating your tiki masterpieces and you shall never be disappointed!
Fervent Shaker insider tip: If I’m honest, of the two Bacardi rums on my lists this should be the one you buy (if you have to choose)… Sweet, Smooth, Spicy, Smokey and damn good; this rum is perfect in a spiced Pina colada and even better in a rum-toddy…
Admiral Vernons Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum (England) £30-36 The Drink Shop / The Whisky Exchange
Ok, so here’s another ‘danger’ warning. This rum, at 75.5%, is by far the strongest of all the rums included in any of the previous lists! Thus it should be treated with the upmost respect.
So with the warning let me share some info about this fine, high-proof, rum:
This rum was the brain child of Admiral Edward Vernon. He enforced a strength reduction on the rum the British Navy gave to its sailors (back in 1740). After hearing the complaints of his men however, ‘Old Grog Vernon’ suggested the addition of lime & sugar to help the flavour and make the drink more enjoyable.
This Old J rum was created in honour of ‘Old Grog’ himself and whilst the strength of the rum has been readdressed, it was increased back to 151-proof [75.5%], it has kept the same balance of spices, lime and sugar that made the original rum a great hit.
Fervent Shaker insider tip: Although this rum is perfect for tiki cocktails (it has tiki in its name after all) it is a 151-proof rum and therefore highly flammable! Whilst it gets a little old for me to keep warning you, you seriously need to be careful when handling such high-strength rum. It may taste great, used properly, but when you mess around; things can and will go wrong!