The Intoxicologist

Friday, September 28, 2007

Reviving the Zombie

White Witch, Vampire, Corpse Reviver, Viking, Grateful Dead, Purple People Eater. All are cocktails or shots that conjure up images of wickedly fun drinks for the Halloween season, but none of them have had the staying power or widespread recognition that the Zombie has year round. The notoriety of the cocktail may have something to do with the potency of the drink and how it received such an appropriate name.

Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt who later changed his name to Don invented the Zombie at his tiki themed restaurant, Don the Beachcomber, in the late 1930’s in Hollywood. The drink is a creation of several fruit juices, liqueurs and rums with the equivalent of seven and a half ounces of alcohol in a single drink. Don made this drink for a friend who had three of these smooth tasting, fruit filled drinks before heading out of town for a few days. Upon returning, he grumbled that the drinks had turned him into a zombie for the entire trip. Thus, the Zombie name was born. It wasn’t until the World’s Fair of 1939 that the Zombie gained widespread recognition. Interesting to note, the first television broadcast of a speech by an American president was also at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Coincidence??

With the prevelance of free pouring, the availability of concentrated juices and the need for quickness in serving the bar patron the original Zombie mutated into the thrown together, often harsh cocktail it has become at corner bars across the country. But, the original is such a well thought out drink. Its multi layers of flavors blend together so nicely that the heavily liquored Zombie masquerades as a smooth fruit cocktail that can pack a full punch and may sneak up on any unsuspecting drinker quite quickly.

No one is sure whether Don ever published his original recipe, but this one is as close as we may get to it. It doesn't have the full seven and a half ounces of liquor, but it will still pack a wallop.

Zombie

1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1-1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1-1/2 oz Fresh Passion Fruit Puree
1/4 oz Grenedine
1 oz Orange Curacao or Apricot Brandy
1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Light Rum
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Overproof Rum such as 151 - Optional
Sprig of Fresh Mint for Garnish
Seasonal Fruit for Garnish (or pineapple/orange/marischino cherry)

Combine all ingredients except garnishes into a shaker. Shake to mix. Fill a Zombie glass 1/2 to 2/3 full of ice. Fill with Zombie drink. A float of 1/2 oz overproof rum may also be added if desired. Garnish with fruit skewer. A Zombie has its own glass designation. It is a 10-12 ounce glass similar in shape to a Collins glass only taller.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Brazil's Cachaca & the Caipirinha

The Brazilians are really on to something and it isn’t just their tourism trade. It’s their distilled liquor, Cachaca. If there could possibly be a bridge liquor between rum and tequila, Cachaca must be it.

Cachaca (kuh-shah-suh) is only produced in Brazil and they only export 1% of it, mostly to Germany. This makes it slightly difficult to find in U.S. liquor stores, but hunting around for it will be well worth the trouble. The average Brazilian consumes three gallons of Cachaca yearly and for good reason; the unique taste. Unlike regular rum that is made from molasses, a by-product of sugarcane and aged in oak barrels, Cachaca is sugarcane juice that is distilled and fermented. This leaves a less sweet or dry tasting rum. What it also leaves is a slight twist on the rum flavor and aroma. It almost gives it that hint of crossover between rum and a light tequila flavor.

This is realized most with the Caipirinha (kay-peer-reen-ya), which also happens to be the national cocktail of Brazil. It takes three basic ingredients to put this drink together; Cachaca, lime, and bar syrup. They mirror ingredients and ratios in a simple margarita; Patron, lime and blue agave nectar. It also carries over to another drink with similar ingredients and ratios in the daiquiri with light rum, lime and bar syrup. Yet it is obvious the Caipirinha is neither a margarita nor a daiquiri. It is a cocktail that stands alone as it uses a distilled liquor that is like no other. It is no wonder the Cachaca so easily fills the space between rum and tequila with the Caipirinha. With the tart overtone of the lime combined with the unique flavor of this sugarcane distillate, this cocktail makes an excellent substitute for drinkers who steer clear of tequila, yet long for something other than mere rum.

Caipirinha

2 oz Cachaca
1/2 Fresh Lime Cut Into Slices
1/4 oz Bar Syrup
1 Lime Wedge for Garnish

Muddle together fresh lime slices and bar syrup in shaker for approximately 10 – 15 seconds. Add Cachaca. Fill shaker 1/3 full with ice. Shake for 15 – 20 seconds until thoroughly combined. Strain into a rocks glass filled 2/3 full with ice. Add lime garnish.

Traditional variations:

Caipiroska – substitute vodka
Caipirissima – substitute rum
Sakerinha – substitute sake and tangerines instead of limes


Something else you might try is straining the above cocktail recipe into a Collins glass with 2/3 ice and topping off with diet or non-diet tonic water for a refreshing summer drink that will stretch a little longer.

FYI: The International Bartenders Association recognizes the Caipirinha as one of the 50 greatest drinks of all time. It really is that good. With it being as simple as it is to put together, it really should be on every person’s list of cocktails to remember.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New England Highballs

The Cape Cod or Cape Codder is within the family group of drinks known as the New England Highballs. There are six member drinks within this family, five beginning with the base liquor of vodka and one tricky one with rum, followed by cranberry juice and all built in a highball glass. That is where the five other drinks break off adding grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, orange juice and/or peach schnapps. If you can master the Cape Cod the rest will be a breeze or walk on the beach or something like that anyway. You’ll get the picture in a minute.

The Cape Cod is the easiest. Men order it simply as a vodka cranberry. Tell them it’s a Cape Codder and they think they’ve ordered a girlie drink. So we’ll keep it nice and simple.

Cape Cod

2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
Fill w/ Cranberry Juice
Lime Wedge for Garnish

Fill highball glass 2/3 full of ice. Combine vodka and cranberry juice over the ice. Garnish with the lime wedge. Add a stir stick or straw.

The Sea Breeze is next in line in this family of drinks. To this one we add grapefruit juice to the cranberry juice in equal parts.

Sea Breeze

2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
1-1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1-1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
Lime Wedge for Garnish

Fill highball glass 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients to glass in the order given. Garnish with the lime wedge. Add a stir stick or straw.

And now for the tricky one of the bunch; the Bay Breeze. It is mistake for many a bartender and even teachers of bartenders to make this particular drink with vodka instead of rum as it is among the New England Highballs. But try it out yourself with one of each with vodka and one with rum and see which one you think is best.

Bay Breeze

2 oz Bacardi Light Rum
1-1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1-1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Lime Wedge for Garnish

Fill highball glass 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients in order given. Garnish with the lime wedge. Add a stir stick or straw.

The Madras is the basic Cap Cod with equal parts cranberry and orange juice, but no garnish. It is unbelievable the difference it will make in your drink if you take the time to squeeze a fresh orange for the juice.

Madras

2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
1-1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1-1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Fill highball glass 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients in the order given. Add a stir stick or straw.

Ah, who hasn’t longed for Sex on the Beach? While this one is within the family of New England Highballers it is a bit different in that it is built in a cocktail shaker and strained back into an iced highball glass. For a bit of extra punch we’re going with one extra ingredient that strays from the basic list and that is Chambord. In my opinion if you’re going with something like Sex on the Beach, it had better be something special and that is exactly what Chambord adds.

Sex on the Beach

1-1/2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
1/2 oz Peachtree Schnapps
1/4 oz Chambord
2 oz Cranberry Juice
2 oz Pineapple Juice

Fill a highball glass about half to two thirds full of ice. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 cubes of ice. Shake and strain into highball glass. No garnish.

Lastly is the Woo Woo, otherwise known as a Pierced Navel. This would be due to its close relation to the Fuzzy Navel. There is also a Tequila Woo Woo that is more popular than the regular version. It is made in the same proportions only swapping out the vodka for tequila. Try them both to see which is your personal favorite.

Woo Woo

2 oz Smirnoff Vodka
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
2-1/2 oz Cranberry Juice

Fill highball glass 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients in the order given. Add a stir stick or straw. No garnish.


It was a breeze, a walk on the beach...Woo Woo! We’re done.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sangrita: The Traditional Tequila Shooter

Every good tequila story starts out with having had a few shots too many and trails off with not remembering how the night actually ended. Someone else usually fills in the blanks with all the embarrassing embellishments. Many tequila drinkers go on vowing to never touch tequila again. A shame really as tequila is no more potent than the other major contenders. It has just gotten a bad rap over the years as it is the most likely to find its way into a celebration shot glass known as “training wheels” or “lip-sip-suck.”

Briefly, tequila came to us by way of the Aztec people of Mexico who had a drink by the name of pulque, which is still in circulation today by the way. When the Spaniards arrived in April of 1530, they were running out of Brandy so they introduced the Aztecs to the distillation process. The distilled drink they made was little more than a higher proof version of the pulque, but it is what led us to the tequila we have today. However, it was another 70 years before the first tequila factory was established by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle.

To be classified as tequila, the liquor must be prepared from blue agave plants that are grown within Mexico’s Jalisco province. The hills of this area are covered with more than 100 million plants which produce more than 50 million gallons of tequila annually. (That makes for a lot of shots!) Approximately 40% of this is exported. Tequila being exported to the United States has experienced a surge in the last few years. This is a good sign for the higher end tequilas as they are becoming more main stream.

Higher end or lower end, all tequilas must pass Mexico’s standards for tequilas. To be labeled 100% Agave Tequila the tequila must be made from 100% blue agave nectar and bottled at the distillery in Mexico. It may be Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, or Extra Anejo. Anything labeled Tequila is only required to be 51% blue agave otherwise known as Mixto. This tequila may also be distilled in Mexico, yet be exported to other countries for bottling. It may be Blanco, Gold, Reposado, or Anejo. Both must comply with the NOM (Norma Official Mexicana) standard. This is the standard which defines the definition for each type of tequila.

Blanco or Silver: Clear, un-aged, bottled immediatedly after distillation. Contains the true bouquet of the blue agave.

Gold: Un-aged Blanco, but can have caramel, fructose, glycerin, and/or wood flavoring added to it to simulate aged tequila.

Reposado: Blanco that has been aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. This gives Reposado a mellow flavor that is gentle on the palate while still allowing it to keep the blue agave essence.

Anejo: Blanco aged in oak for a minimum of one year, but less than three. This tequila is amber in color and picks up more of the flavor of the oak barrel giving it a more distinct flavor such as one would expect from an aged scotch. These are tequilas made for sipping and savoring due to their unique characteristics.

Extra Anejo: This is a new category established in March 2006. It is aged a minimum of three years.

So, what are a few premium brands to choose from?

Patron is my favorite. Ironically, I prefer the Silver to sip due to the smooth finish and the Reposado for my margaritas, because of the spicy nature.

El Tesoro Anejo has a smoky flavor to it. Excellent for sipping. Holds up well in a margarita, but it is a safe bet this isn’t what the distiller had in mind for the Anejo.

Corzo is beyond excellent. The bottle was designed by a perfumer. It is as sleek as the tequila is smooth. This is an extraordinary find. It would be a shame to shoot this tequila. While it might make a top shelf margarita or cocktail, the only way I would ever want to savor it is alone in a glass.

Jose Cuervo Tradicional 100% De Agave: This is the Cuervo family’s first creation and a long standing favorite of many. I chose this one last, not due to it being a favorite, but for it being a long standing tradition in the Tequila con Sangrita. Unlike the run of the mill Jose Cuervo that many grab on the midline shelf at the liquor store, this is an exceptional and premium tequila. In Mexico this is still the number one selling tequila kept by many in the freezer for frozen shots as we would vodka.

For an authentic Mexican experience try your frozen shot of tequila with Sangrita. This is not to be confused with Sangria, two totally different drinks. Sangrita is a spicy, tomato and fruit based drink poured in a shot glass. Traditionally a frozen tequila shot is downed chased by a Sangrita chaser. What follows is a traditional Sangrita recipe.

Sangrita

1/4 cup Pureed Jalepeno
2-1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
46 oz Tomato Juice
3/4 Tablespoon salt-more or less to taste
3/4 Tablespoon white pepper-more or less to taste
Tabasco to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Mix well. Chill. Taste to test seasoning. To serve: Pour into shot glasses alongside ice cold tequila shots.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pina Colada with Punch

Don Ramon Lopez-Irizarry may have been a genius when he came up with the homogenized cream in a can we know as Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut. But it wasn’t until a bartender by the name of Ramon Marrero at Puerto Rico’s Caribe Hilton combined this cream of coconut with rum, pineapple juice and ice in a blender did it become the special treat we know today as the Pina Colada.

If you look at a can of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut the Pina Colada is a breeze with only three ingredients, but it also lacks imagination. It is a quick and easy drink, sure to satisfy and please. When given the opportunity and just a few more minutes of time, who wouldn’t want a drink with more depth and character? The secret to making a Pina Colada of this caliber takes two kinds of rum, heavy cream, and bitters in addition to the ingredients already called for in the typical Pina Colada recipe. There is nothing extravagant about it, only a few more steps to give your Pina Colada that extra zing.

Pina Colada

1-1/2 oz Bacardi Light Rum
1 oz Myers Rum
2 oz Coco Lopez
1 oz Heavy Cream
4 oz Pineapple Juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters
1 Cup Crushed Ice
Garnish – Pineapple Wedge & Maraschino Cherry

Combine all ingredients except garnish into a blender and blend until all ice is completely mixed in. Any chunks get caught in straws, so be sure to mix very well. Pour into either a hurricane glass or a poco-grande glass. Place pineapple and cherry on a garnish skewer and place in the drink.

If you want to add just that little something more to your Pina Colada, very carefully drizzle 1/4 oz more of the Myers dark rum around the top edge of the drink. It adds a nice visual effect to the drink with just that little extra punch as well. This was a trick a bartender on a cruise line showed me a few years back that kept me going back for more of the tropical treat, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Daiquiri & Hemingway's Papa Doble

The Daiquiri is a bar classic dating back to the nineteenth century. Ernest Hemingway even had one named after him called the Hemingway Daiquiri or the Papa Doble. Originally built in a Collins glass over cracked ice, the Daiquiri has evolved into what we know today as the sophisticated cocktail drink served in a martini glass.

The Daiquiri is a rather tart and refreshing drink with just a hint of sweetness. It consists of only three ingredients; rum, lime juice and sugar. The balancing of these three ingredients is what complicates the drink.

Fresh ingredients are always best when creating any cocktail. This is no different with the Daiquiri. To save time, some bars will use concentrated lime juice rather than fresh lime juice. This will throw the ratio of lime juice to bar syrup completely out of whack as the concentrated lime juice tends to be rather strong and thick. Even worse, some bartenders will use Rose’s Sweet Lime in exchange for fresh lime juice not recognizing the difference. This is a huge mistake in building the Daiquiri.

Another factor in the flavor of a Daiquiri is the rum you choose. Bacardi is a perfectly fine choice. But if you would like a top shelf Daiquiri that adds a hint of depth my recommendation would be 10 Cane.

Most rum is produced from cane that has been grown and harvested for the purpose of sugar with the rum being a side product. Not so with 10 Cane. It is not ordinary rum made from molasses. It is made from the first pressings of Trinidad sugar cane grown for the sole purpose of making rum. The cane is then harvested in groups of ten, thus the name, 10 Cane. The cane is small batch distilled and aged in French oak barrels, producing a lighter, smoother tasting rum with an absolutely fabulous golden color. The undertones of this rum remind me of caramel and vanilla with a hint of spice. It is wonderful to take in the aroma before sipping it neat or within a cocktail.

Daiquiri

2 oz 10 Cane Rum
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
½ oz Collins Bar Syrup

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full with ice. Shake 15 – 20 seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

The Hemingway Daiquiri or Papa Doble has no bar syrup added as Hemingway had an aversion to sugar. Although his drink calls for no sugar, you can be certain it is still a marvelous concoction as it calls for a little known liqueur; Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and also grapefruit juice. The layering effect of the flavors in this cocktail keeps the taster coming back for more and more. It is refreshing and unusual. Not the run of the mill Daiquiri, which is quite satisfying, too.

Hemingway Daiquiri (Papa Doble)

1-1/2 oz 10 Cane or Bacardi Rum
¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
(1/2 oz Bar Syrup if you find the recipe too tart for your tastes)

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full of ice. Shake for 15 – 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

As a side note, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur is sometimes difficult to find locally, but can easily be found on the internet. Accept no substitutions as this is a one of a kind liqueur in a one of a kind bottle.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tuaca - Not To Be Overlooked

Tuaca is a liqueur I’ve passed on the liquor aisle many times without more than a mere glance, but with a little gnaw of wonder in the back of my mind. It isn’t one of the more widely known or used liqueurs such Gran Marnier, Kahlua, or even Drambuie. All of these liqueurs bring a particular drink to mind; Margarita, White or Black Russian, and Rusty Nail. With Tuaca, however, I draw a blank.

My curiosity finally won out recently at a local hot spot. While perusing the drink menu I ran across a drink with Tuaca as an ingredient. I thought I might like to try the drink, but not without knowing what I might be getting into with the Tuaca. I asked about the Tuaca, but the bartender didn’t know what it was either. This goes to show, just because there is a bartender behind the bar, they haven’t always done their homework. In his favor, he did offer a small sample taste which sold me on the Tuaca and the drink.

Tuaca is an Italian liqueur with the taste of buttery vanilla. The official website says it also has a hint of citrus. This may be true as well, but it is so slight that it can be missed. This liqueur is so smooth it rolls over the tongue ever so easily like silk whispers over skin. It is warming like rum can be, yet it can add depth to a cold drink as I will show you in my recipe today.

Tuaca Lemonade

2 oz Three Olives Citrus Vodka
1 oz Tuaca
½ oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Lemon Twist for Garnish

Combine vodka, Tuaca, and lemon juice in cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full with ice. Shake 15 – 20 seconds until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

As a side note, Tuaca seems to have the perfect flavor for a very high end Buttery Nipple as it has the caramel undertone that butterscotch liqueur has, but is not as sugary and raw as butterscotch schnapps. When using higher end liquors and liqueurs it also seems a shame to shoot them and miss the taste. Sip and savor the flavor instead for a change of pace.

Friday, September 14, 2007

St~Germain Limon Blossom

When I walk into Omaha Wine at 114th and Dodge I am always looking for something new and different to try. By new, I mean new to me that I’ve never tried. By different, I mean unusual. What I came away with was in fact both. If you have ever tried St~Germain liqueur, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The bottle itself is a work of art. It is tall and elegant with sharp edges begging to be touched. Once it is picked up, it isn’t like a regular bottle of liquor you’d hold by the neck. No. It requires cradling and care by its design alone. That is precisely the first clue as to what is inside the bottle as well.

As is perfectly clear, what drew me to this liqueur in the first place was the spectacular bottle. Upon reading the label I discovered St~Germain is created from handpicked elderflower blossoms. Yes, flowers. I had to ask about the elderflower, since most liqueurs I’ve ever tried have a fruit base. The quick witted response of the person on duty was a little unusual, but I can play along. He said, “Hold your hand out and get ready to lick.” That isn’t something you hear every day. Then again, Omaha Wine is where you find the new and different. So, I put out my hand and sure enough, he poured a little sample of the St~Germain in the palm of my hand. It was so delicious I didn’t hesitate to buy it immediately. My brain was already concocting delicious things to try out with this new flavor.

Thinking on it, I can’t describe what the liqueur even tastes like. It is light, yet abundant, but not overpowering. It is floral, but not flowery and strong like roses. It has a hint of fruit in it, yet there is not a particular fruit to distinguish in the flavor. If you take a look at the official website they hint at the subtleties of the flavor, but can not pinpoint it either. “Neither pear nor peach, lychee nor citrus, the sublime taste of St~Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly.”

It is a complicated liqueur, yet brings a dynamic to a drink that is unmatched. It is a layering effect that happens when a drink is put together with forethought. When you drink a cocktail such as this, you take a sip and think to yourself that it tastes really good. Then you take another sip and realize there is another element in the drink you hadn’t caught the first taste around. That adds new depth and character to it and you want to taste more to see if you catch something else. That is exactly what the St~Germain does for a drink if it is added in the right proportion.

St~Germain may be on the pricier side of liqueurs, but well worth it. Play around with it in exchange for bar syrup in a mojito or in exchange for Gran Marnier in a margarita for something different. Now try this. It is my newest experiment.

St~Germain Limon Blossom

1-1/2 oz Three Olives Citrus Vodka
1 oz St Germain
½ oz Caravella Limoncello
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full with ice. Shake 15 – 20 seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Check out St~Germain at
www.stgermain.fr

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail - Transforming the Shot

Recently I passed by a new cocktail bar advertising a cocktail I had only been familiar with as a shot or shooter. Curious as I am, I immediately did a little research in my trusty books and sure enough, I found it. The Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail. It was not just a shooter to be slammed back, barely tasted for a split second on the tongue. One could actually sip it for a while in a cocktail glass and savor it, tasting the complexities and see if it indeed tasted like an oatmeal cookie for which it was named. So, of course, I wondered if it did indeed taste like an oatmeal cookie. Being a bartender I of course have made the Oatmeal Cookie Shooter for women who have ordered it. But, must admit, even though oatmeal cookies are my favorite, I had never actually tasted an Oatmeal Cookie Shooter. I as a rule, I rarely do shots.

Aha! I am found out. Shooters and shots don’t hold the highest appeal to me, so I don’t usually try them. My opinion of shooters and shots is that they are not on the tongue long enough to taste, so the only point in drinking them is to get drunk fast. There is a time and place for that some would argue, but I truly enjoy the flavors and complexities of the liquors, so I want to enjoy them for as long as I can before falling flat on my face. But, with so many shooters and shots out there, cutting out that entire section of recipes seems a little sad. Certainly there is room for compromise.

That is where the Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail comes in. It brings in the idea of compromise. I looked up the recipe for the shooter and the cocktail and they both have almost identical ingredients. They are just taken in at different speeds. Which made me think the same could be done with other shooters with the same appeal. Most shooters could be made into a cocktail or iced drink unless of course the basis of the shooter is a visual effect. Then, the effect could not be duplicated in a cocktail or iced drink. The trick would be to decide whether the drink would be better shaken over ice and strained into a cocktail glass or built into glass with ice where the ice would melt into the drink as it is being sipped. This is basically personal preference unless a drink is meant to be creamy. Ice melting would of course ruin that effect.

Oatmeal Cookie Shot

¼ oz Jagermeister
¼ oz Butterscotch Schnapps
¼ oz Baileys Irish Cream
¼ oz Cinnamon Schnapps
¼ oz Goldschlager

Mix contents over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a shot glass. Serve and drink ice cold.

Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail

1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1 oz Jagermeister
½ oz Goldschlager

Pour ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with skewered raisins, dried cranberries, or dates. All would go perfectly with this drink. This is the original version I found for the Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail. I can’t help myself when it comes to tweaking drinks a bit. I found it to be a bit too much cinnamon and a bit too thin for my liking. Try cutting back on the Goldschlager to ¼ oz and adding in ½ oz of half and half to make a creamier drink with less cinnamon bite.

Here’s one for those of you who do shots to get way messed up. I don’t know why you do it, but I’m sure you have your reasons. I know, I know. It’s fun. But, seriously. This one is called for lack of a better name….Russian F**er… I didn’t name it guys, someone else came up with that one. But, in all fairness it makes a great sipping drink.

Russian F**er Shooter

¾ oz Stolichnaya Vodka
¾ oz Amaretto
¾ oz Crown Royal

Mix contents over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a shooter glass. Serve and drink ice cold.

Russian F**er on the Rocks

1 oz Stolichnaya Vodka
1 oz Amaretto
1 oz Crown Royal

Fill a rocks glass with cracked ice to the top. Measure liquors into glass over the ice. Insert a stir straw and serve. No need for a garnish, but an orange peel on a skewer would make a nice visual effect.

Next time you run across a shot or shooter you think sounds like something you might want to actually taste instead of throw back, try it out shaken over ice and strained in a cocktail glass or poured over ice in a rocks glass. You might be surprised that the shot tastes a lot better at a slower pace than you thought it would. Then again, I’ve seen some of those shots….Some of them are aptly named like Toxic Waste, Nuclear Spill, and even a Dirty Ashtray. No thanks.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nomad Lounge Review - Omaha, Nebraska

Last night my boyfriend and I wandered off the beaten path of the tried and true Old Market faithful and headed down to the Nomad Lounge. Elan furniture store once occupied this space, but there is no evidence of it remaining with the exception of the vast space and wood floor. Nomad Lounge has done a remarkable job with the atmosphere.

To be honest, when we approached the place we were hesitant as it appeared mostly dead. Upon entering, it wasn’t very busy and was quiet, but in a peaceful, serene sort of way. It is quite dark with lots of red lighting and candles galore surrounding the exterior walls and highlighting the bar area. The bar itself is a large wrap-around concrete bar that sits in the middle of the lounge area. The seating areas along the exterior walls are filled with comfy sofas, candle light and an array of art reflected from overhead projectors creating a unique atmosphere for this truly unexpected bar for the Old Market.

Our bartender was eager to set us up with drinks, but unfortunately was stumped with an easy request; the Bacardi Cocktail. While he did not know what a Bacardi Cocktail was, he did have recommendations from the Nomad Lounge’s cocktail list which is varied. First, every bartender should know a Bacardi Cocktail as it was the center of litigation in 1936 when a bar owner substituted another rum in place of Bacardi in the Barcardi Cocktails. Basically the only difference in a Bacardi Cocktail and a Daquiri is one cocktail uses grenadine and the other drink uses bar syrup as the sweetener. Both are basic bar drinks that should be known to every cocktail bartender.

Bacardi Cocktail

2 oz Bacardi Light Rum
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
½ oz Grenadine

Shake ingredients in cocktail shaker one third full of ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

I also ordered a straight up martini with a lemon twist made with Pravda Vodka. Had the martini been made with less vermouth than the free pour amount the bartender added to the drink itself instead of to the iced cocktail glass before shaking the ice away, it would have been a great martini. Instead, I got a really up close and personal taste of what Cinzano Vermouth tastes like. It’s a martini, I suppose, but not my kind of martini.

Perfect Martini

Noily Pratt Vermouth
2 oz Vodka – Chopin, Pravda, Tall Blonde, (all top of the line-choose one)
Lemon Twist

Place ice in a cocktail glass. Swirl approximately ¼ oz of Noily Pratt Dry Vermouth over top of ice filled cocktail glass. Set aside. Place vodka in cocktail shaker. Fill 1/3 full of ice. Shake or swirl for 15 – 12 seconds. Swirl iced vermouth around the cocktail glass before dumping out. Strain vodka into chilled cocktail glass. Twist fresh lemon around rim of cocktail glass and lightly squeeze over top of martini before placing the lemon twist either on the rim of the glass or into the martini itself. Some people prefer olives in their martinis and that is a perfectly good option. Skip the lemon twist in that case. Try any assortment of olives to liven things up a bit. JalapeƱo olives are my personal favorite.

The Nomad Lounge has several drinks on their menu. The Flower Island Bikini made up of Belevedere Vodka, 10 Cane Rum (my favorite rum!) blue curacao, pineapple juice, and sprite is one. This drink came served in a Collins glass over ice. It was too blue for my taste and also way too sweet. As it ended up, I didn’t care for it and our bartender took it away without charging me for it. That’s a real plus in favor of the Nomad Lounge and did lead me to order something else; their Nomad Lemonade. It had Grey Goose Citron, Tuaca (our bartender gave me a tiny taste first-kudos again!), Fresh Lemon, and Nomad’s own freshly made Simple Syrup. It also comes in a tall glass over ice. Although it could use a tad less simple syrup, this makes for a great sipping drink. It’s rather pricy at $12, but proceeds from it go toward a good cause. You can read about the cause yourself on their menu when you go check them out. Another plus to the leisurely atmosphere is there is no smoking indoors, but a nice sitting area with sofas on the patio for those of you who care to.

By the time we called it a night, the place was filling up and holding its own in the Old Market. Refreshing to see with all the places that come along and fade away.

Nomad Lounge
www.nomadlounge.com
1013 Jones Street
Omaha, NE