Tag Archives: grapefruit

3 Paloma cocktails to restore your Faith in Tequila…

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If I had a £1/$1 for every time someone told me how much they dislike Tequila, I’d have retired and lived happily ever after in my grand-cabin the woodlands of Arizona.


As it is, I don’t get a single penny – which really does make it hard to listen too. Tequila has a bit of a bad rap and, whilst this is slowly being repaired by some of the artisan brands out there, it still needs a little helping hand to get people falling in love with it.

The biggest hurdle is that of the ‘cheap’ brands creating below-par tequila with shots and heavily mixed drinks the aim. To avoid any uneasy feelings by naming those brands, let’s just say anything less than 100% agave is considered by this blog to be ‘below par’.

The best way to get over the hurdles surrounding Tequila is to share the best ways to re-introduce yourself to this earthy and unique spirit. Tequila is, in my opinion, always a difficult spirit to simply sip. Whilst there are brands that specialise in ‘sipping’ quality tequilas, I am not a straight drinker and prefer my spirits lightly mixed into long summer-perfect drinks. Think about the Mule category for a snapshot of my preferences.

So, when it comes to tequila, what is the best way to mix it so you can really enjoy its complex flavour? Yes, there are literally hundreds of cocktails out there that contain tequila, some are classic (for good reason) and others are, at best, dreadful. All too often these ‘poorly created’ cocktails add to the stigma around the spirit.

The best way, by far, is the cocktail known as the Paloma. I’ve written a few posts that have included Paloma recipes before, and it is my favourite cocktail containing Tequila. A lot of people prefer a margarita but I find it to be a little savoury and have had far too many bad margaritas for my own liking.

All you need for a Paloma is 3 things: Tequila, Grapefruit Soda, and Lime.

There are more complex recipes out there, and the 3 recipes I want to share with you will show the differences between easy, medium, and difficult recipes.

The tequilas used are all high quality and whilst you can choose your own brands please try to make sure whatever Tequila you buy is 100% agave. Click here to find out why this is important.

Scroll down for the 3 recipes that I believe, will restore your faith in Tequila…

 

Easy – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Ocho Tequila

12.5m Lime Juice

125ml Grapefruit soda

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a tall Collins glass.
  • Top up with the grapefruit soda, swizzle and top with more ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge/wheel or some zest peelings.

 

Medium – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Aqua Riva Reposado Tequila

25ml grapefruit juice

15ml grapefruit syrup

Top up soda water

Method:

  • Combine the juice, syrup, and tequila in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Around 10-15 seconds should do it.
  • Strain into a tall ice-filled glass and top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel/wedge or a selection of zest peelings.

 

Difficult – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Patron Blanco Tequila

15 ml sugar syrup

15 ml fresh lime juice

25ml fresh grapefruit juice

Top up sparkling mineral water

1 lime wedge

Salt

1 lime wedge / zest peel, for garnish

 

Method:

  • Optional: Moisten the rim of a tall glass with a cut lime wedge and dip into a fine salt powder.
  • In an ice-filled shaker, combine the tequila, sugar syrup, fruit juices and shake well. For around 10-15 seconds – until the shaker tin ices over.
  • Strain into your ice-filled serving glass (the one you garnished with a salt rim earlier).
  • Top up with the mineral water and garnish with a lime wedge or zest peel.

Easy – This is a basic Paloma cocktail. Combining lime juice, tequila, and grapefruit soda; this cocktail is simple yet highly effective at giving you a new found liking for the quality tequila you use.

Medium – This is a slightly more difficult recipe in that it involves a home-made grapefruit sugar syrup (the recipe can be found here). This version of the Paloma is slightly heavier on the grapefruit’s bitterness but is counterbalanced by the sweetness of the sugar and dryness of the soda water. This cocktail brings together a rather more complicated version of a simplified cocktail and delivers a higher depth in flavour for a little extra work. This cocktail is, by far, full of more flavour than its simplified form.

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Difficult: This is where the Paloma cocktail really comes into its own. Once broken down into its many parts, this cocktail can become a thing of true magnificence. Combining a home-made sugar syrup with one of the best tequila’s on the market (not merely opinion, but fact) and by using sparkling mineral water [instead of soda water] this cocktail is elevated from simple pleasure to a true summer evening delight.

The difficult recipe is by far my favourite version of this cocktail [so far]. I love its increased flavour profile, the quality of the tequila is outstanding and to top it all off, the use of mineral water adds to the earthy feel of this long, sweet summer cocktail.

I hope this post has helped you resume your potential love affair with, tequila. Tequila truly is a stunning spirit that has so much to offer. It’s versatile and with so many high-quality brands now available, it would be blasphemous not to give it a second chance!

I trust these 3 Paloma recipes have restored your Faith in Tequila and with luck, you’ll be drinking a lot more of it in the future!

What’s your favourite Tequila cocktail? Do you have a preferred straight drinking tequila? Why not leave a comment below and help me spread the word: Tequila isn’t all bad!

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Cocktails O’Clock: Inspired by… France (#1)

The French Blonde

Recipe:

½ measure St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

1 measure Dry Gin

2 measures Lillet Blanc

2 measures fresh grapefruit juice

3 Dashes Lemon Bitters

A Perfect French Cocktail…

Method:

  1. Using an ice filled shaker, shake together all the ingredients for about 30 seconds (or until the shaker is iced).
  2. Strain it into a Martini glass and garnish with a twist grapefruit peel.

This cocktail is a great way to introduce France to both you and your cocktails; Using 2 of Frances well known spirits/liqueurs, this cocktail oozes class and all the subtlety the French are famous for…

Combining the sweet and fragrant St. Germain and Lillet Blanc with the tartness of the Grapefruit; this cocktail is well balanced and even emits a rather subtle juniper taste on the palate (from the gin).

Try this cocktail out at home and experiment with different grapefruits (I find golden & pink grapefruits work the best, but it’s all down to your palate).

Cocktails O’ Clock: Catalina Margarita

It’s the Fucking Catalina wine mixer…

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Recognise this little party?
Picture courtesy of: http://www.seeing-stars.com

Tequila is something I’ve never been able to get my taste buds use to, and that’s probably because all I’ve ever been exposed to is Jose Cuervo and Sauza. Whilst both brands do produce high grade 100% agave tequila, supermarkets sell just sell the cheaper ‘impure’ products (they are cheaper and show better sales – trust me it’s how they think – which is a shame I know).

Recently however there has been somewhat of a boom in the tequila industry, with more and more focus on ‘craft’ and aged ‘pure’ 100% Agave tequilas (especially across the USA). Here in the UK there are plenty of good quality tequila’s available, if you know where to look. Sainsbury’s for one stock a couple of 100% agave brands; El Jimador (Blanco & Reposado) and, along with Waitrose, Aqua Riva (Reposado). Both brands can say they are 100% agave and therefore better for you than those products that are not so.

Fervent Shaker Funny Fact: Due to the purer filtration processes 100% agave tequilas will not result in as bad a hangover as those tequilas that are ‘blended’ (basically any tequila that doesn’t say 100% agave on it). This is because some chemicals (the ones that cause severe hangover symptoms) are reintroduced when the ‘blended’ products are mixed. This does not happen with 100% agave tequila’s as once the chemicals are removed, that’s it, and they’re gone for good. Huzzah.

So moving onto this evening’s cocktail: The Catalina Margarita…

Catalina Margarita:

(42ml) 1 ½ measures Tequila

(28ml) 1 measure Blue Curacao

(28ml) 1 measure Peach Schnapps

(112ml) 4 measures Sour Mix*

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The great looking Catalina Margarita, of course the Blue colour is governed by that timeless spirit: Blue Curacao.
Picture courtesy of: http://www.RhodyJoes.com

Method:

1)      Combine all the ingredients over ice in a shaker and shake until frosted.

2)      Serve straight (preferable in a chilled Margarita cocktail glass).

3)      Garnish with a lime twist.

Now a famous use of Catalina was the Catalina Wine Mixer…

The Catalina wine mixer is a fictitious event in the film Step Brothers. The film is hilarious, starring Will Ferrell as one of the brothers and he is the host of the wine mixer at the end… This cocktail as far as I can see, whilst not actually based on this reference, would have suited such an event perfectly. Sure it’s not a wine based cocktail, but Margaritas are literally perfect for any event. Keeping the recipe close to the original as possible (although this version is a lot longer than a classic margarita) this cocktail will wash away any shyness you feel at any event. It will help you forget your insecurities at any event you feel you don’t quite belong at. Whether that’s a good thing or not is a decision I will leave to you…

This slightly tweaked version I’ve created has taken its inspiration from the event. Who cares if it isn’t real, it’s the fucking Catalina wine mixer!

Catalina (Wine Mixer) Margarita:

(42ml) 1 ½ measures Tequila

(28ml) 1 measure Blue Curacao

(28ml) 1 measure Peach Schnapps

(56ml) 2 measures Sour Mix*

Top up Sparkling Wine

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This version is slightly longer and more of an evening drink compared to it’s sipping counterpart…
Picture courtesy of: http://www.redbookmag.com

Method:

1)      As the classic calls for shaking, this one does to; just don’t shake up the wine…

2)      Pour into a chilled margarita cocktail glass.

3)      Top with the Sparkling wine.

4)      Garnish with a lime twist and candied Lemon peel.

This cocktail is a little lighter than the original recipe to make it a faster sipper. This version of the drink can be a little richer in flavour, if you pick a good quality of sparkling wine, but equally lesser so for the same reason…

Fervent Shaker Top Tips: For a really grand version of this drink try using Champagne instead of just any old sparkling wine. Also try using Grapefruit juice as well as Sour mix. If you prefer a still drink, replace the sparkling ingredient with grapefruit juice. You can equally substitute the win for grapefruit soda if you do like your drink carbonated…

*Sour mix is a mixture of lemon juice, lime juice and sugar syrup. See my Jericho Breeze post for the recipe…

Hopefully you like this slightly different take on a great cocktail. And of course another cocktail you can drink whilst watching a film, look at you all sophisticated and that…

Enjoy the drink, and should you want to find the original in its original place try my book of the moment: 365 cocktails, written by Brian Lucas.

Until tomorrow folks! Adios.

Licor 43 International Cocktail of the Month

Sweden Sangreal

I’ve made no secret of my love for Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta Y Tres) and I’ll be honest once more: This is one of the best cocktail’s I’ve ever tasted. Recently I went to Bar Blue and tried a little number called a ‘Saigon Sling’. In some ways they were similar, although overall they are totally different – I know, I know, it all sounds a bit contradictory but just stay with me here… The similarities lie in the use of 3 of the ingredients; Ginger Ale, Lemon’s & a form of sugar syrup (Saigon sling uses plain sugar syrup, whereas the Sweden Sangreal uses grenadine – pomegranate sugar syrup).

Of course the Saigon Sling, using gin and honey liqueur, does differ in taste, but the ideas for both cocktails lie along a similar path…

This cocktail, one of a whole host of cocktails Licor 43 are presenting (a new one each month) is perfect for the summer, both sweet and sour with a touch of crisp ginger to top. The addition of fresh grapefruit just adds that little extra ‘zing’ the drink needs to make truly special.

The recipe, along with a link to the website (and a lovely little video) can be found below…

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This is a Singapore Sling, as I couldn’t find a decent picture of the Sangreal (and mine went far too quickly to be photogenic), for the purposes of this drink, imagine the above picture with a couple chunks of fruit afloat…

Sweden: Sangreal

40ml Licor 43

2 chunks of Grapefruit (2 ¼’s)

2 chunks of Lemon (2 ¼’s)

Large dash of grenadine (around 5-10ml – to taste)

Top up with Ginger ale

Method:

1)      Drop the lemon and grapefruit in the glass and muddle well, releasing the juices (and oils in the skin).

2)      Add crushed ice, then grenadine and finally the Licor 43. Stir well, mixing up the fruit and ice.

3)      Top up with a little more crushed ice and finally top with ginger ale.

4)      Serve with a straw and a second helping (they’ll want another one).

 

So have a go, it’s a simple cocktail to prepare, with the best results coming from using a good quality ginger ale as well as proper grenadine syrup.

Licor 43 is one of those liqueurs that can cost a little bit more than the normal bottle of alcohol, but it will last a lot longer than your average bottle of Vodka (not to mention having infinitely more flavour).

The best place to grab a bottle is here. Unfortunately I still cannot find a bottle for sale any of the supermarkets (should this change I’ll have a massive party to let everyone know!). Until that day enjoy it where you can find it! Adios Amigos!

Caipirinha Please… No, Wait. A Caipiroska

Continuing my theme of the day: how interchangeable certain alcohols are in certain cocktails; I feel compelled to discuss, briefly at least, the family of Caipirinha cocktails:

Across the Caribbean and now most of the world the preferred distillate of sugar cane is Rum. White, golden, dark, spiced even the newer infused rums, it doesn’t matter what type of rum, what matters is that it is RUM.

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The Caipirinha, packs a punch, but it’s full of South American flavour.

This may be the case across almost all the world, but down in South America, Brazil especially, this is far from the case. Cachaca is the distillate of choice. Cachaca is a sugar distillate not too dissimilar to rum, but it arguably lacks the same smoothness of some rum products. Regardless of its texture, it has been used in one of the 20th century’s most popular cocktails. Served across the beaches of South America, be it Brazil, Argentina and even Uruguay, Caipirinha’s are a source of great joy for locals and tourists alike.

The standard recipe for a Caipirinha takes half a lime (cut into wedges) and muddles it with brown sugar, then after topping up with crushed ice, 2 measures (around 50ml) of Cachaca is added. A quick stir later and you’re sipping on a very strong, but refreshingly crisp cocktail.

This cocktail is traditionally served with crushed ice in a rocks glass.

Classic (American/UK) Caipirinha Recipe

50ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top up ice.

Top tip: very gently muddle the lime with the sugar until the sugar has all but dissolved. Then add the cachaca and give it a swizzle stir. Serve with 2 straws.

This recipe is so easy to tweak to your tastes its perfect for chilled evenings watching the football with your pals, or catching up with your girlfriends after a busy day shopping. Either way this versatile drink can be tweaked several ways:

Short Cachaca Mojito

45ml Cachaca

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

2-5 mint leaves

Top up crushed ice.

Splash of soda water

This version of the Caipirinha is simply a short version of a Mojito using cachaca instead of rum. Using the same method for the standard Caipirinha, only when muddling the lime and sugar you muddle the mint leaves too.

The splash of soda water adds the familiar mojito fizz, without diluting the drink.

Margarita Caipirinha

40ml cachaca

10ml triple sec

¼ orange (cut into chunks)

2 teaspoons sugar syrup

Top up crushed ice.

This cocktail uses the margarita as inspiration, mixing triple sec, cachaca and lime to create the feel of a margarita but served in a traditional South American way.

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Try using all your favourite fruits in Caipirinha’s you try at home, this one is made with Passion fruit. Just add a little bit of your fruit to the muddling phase…

The interchangeable alcohol idea:

A famous north American/European cocktail known as the Caipiroska is a simple twist on the standard Caipirinha cocktail. The Caipiroska uses high quality vodka, lime and sugar to the same ends as a Caipirinha. The idea is that this is a refreshing drink using an alcohol that North Americans and Europeans are used to (vodka).

Classic Caipiroska Recipe

50ml high grade vodka (i.e. Green Mark)

½ lime (cut into wedges)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Top Tip: If you have it available, use agave nectar. This sugar syrup like product is fantastically sweet and works brilliantly with this cocktail (as well as mojito’s but that’s a discussion for a future post).

If you find this drink a little too strong for your tastes, then try having it in a taller Collins glass and top up with soda water…

One last note about the Caipiroska; the citrus noted above is lime, but because vodka is such a neutral spirit, there is no reason why you cannot use the same quantities of any citrus fruit; some good examples and quantities are as follows:

Orange – ¼ orange (cut into chunks)

Lemon – ½ small lemon (cut into wedges/chunks)

Grapefruit – ¼ small Grapefruit (cut into chunks)

After note: now it has come to my attention (through a source) that the above recipe is purely an Americanised version of the cocktail. I have it on good authority (see the comment below) that the original recipe from Brazil actually uses lemons. Although they are actually green lemons! It’s quite easy to see that from an american point of view if it’s green it must be a lime… Well this is not true. Brazilians use what are simply green lemons. So if you want a Brazilian Caipirinha (and you don’t mind swapping out the green colour for yellow) replace the lime chunks with lemon. For an extra special twist, shave a large full circumference slice of lemon peel and fit it around the glass (after muddling the chunks & sugar), then add the ice and Cachaca … Whichever recipe you choose I’m sure you’ll enjoy the drink all the same. sure lemons will change the flavour slightly, but it’ll still be a refreshing summer drink!

Drink up I’ve just ordered you another one!

Thanks to http://thingsthatfizz.wordpress.com/ for the advice below!