As always, the Intoxicologist is on a quest for something exciting and new for parties and special occasions. Valentine’s Day 2008 stirred my imagination for creative new cocktail recipes. I’ve been in the test kitchen trying out new concoctions, in the library pouring through books, and in the cellar sampling wine. There are new trends and new liquors on the market for your enjoyment. So, scroll down and take note. Something may spark your interest.
1-1/4 ounce Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/4 ounce Van Gogh Double Espresso Double Caffeine Vodka
3/4 ounce Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueur
1/2 ounce Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
Chocolate Shavings (optional)
Place first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Swirl Hershey’s Syrup inside a cold cocktail glass. Strain contents of cocktail shaker into Hershey’s Syrup swirled cocktail glass. Sprinkle ground nutmeg and chocolate shavings on top of cocktail. Serve immediately. Another garnish option is a Hershey’s Kiss pierced at the end of a cocktail pick and placed horizontally across the cocktail glass.
2 ounces Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounce Hot Damn
3 to 5 Whole Candied Red Hots
Mix vodka and Hot Damn in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Place 3 to 5 Red Hot candies in bottom of well chilled cocktail glass. Strain cocktail shaker ingredients into cocktail glass. Serve immediately.
Since Almond Joy is a trademark candy bar, I use caution in naming my cocktail after this particular candy bar. However, after toying with this particular cocktail, I blindly taste tested it on a couple of people and they immediately exclaimed that the Almond Joy is what it tasted like, which is what I was going for in this particular drink. You decide for yourself.
Faux Almond Joy Cocktail
1-1/4 ounce Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/4 ounce Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1/4 ounce Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur
1/8 ounce Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueur
1/4 ounce Coco Lopez Coconut Cream
Ground Blanched Almonds (they can be ground in a coffee grinder)
Place a small amount of Hershey’s Syrup on a saucer. Pour ground blanched almonds on another saucer. Dip the rim of a chilled cocktail glass in the syrup allowing excess to drip off. Next dip the chocolate rim into the blanched almonds to create an almond rim on the glass. Place cocktail glass into the freezer or carefully fill with ice to keep chilled. Mix first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Set aside. Swirl Hershey’s Syrup inside of empty, chilled cocktail glass. Strain contents of cocktail shaker into chocolate swirled cocktail glass. Serve immediately.
Cocktails may not appeal to everyone. I tend to be drawn to bottles and labels. So, when I saw the Little Black Dress wine label I immediately picked it up. With its white lettering, red hanger and red high heeled pumps strewn in wanton abandon on the label, this wine begs to be swiped up, drunk without inhibition, come what may. It is the perfect mid priced wine for any budget. I chose the Merlot, but it also is marketed in Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. This wine can be found at Whole Foods or online in the price range of $10 - $12.
For a little experimentation of your own, pick up a copy of The Martini Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide by Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan. These are two of my favorite cocktail experts and they have not disappointed in this book. This copy was a Christmas gift and it is a gift that has kept on giving me a wealth of new ideas. What a pleasure! It will be a tremendous extension to your cocktail library as well with its timeless classics and trendiest cocktails from the most chic hotels, restaurants, and bars.
A relatively new product on the market is Jaguar Vodka. While most vodka is made from grain or potato, this one is made from sugar cane. Jaguar Vodka is distilled five times or more, which means it is a very clean tasting, pure vodka. In a taste test with Chopin (potato vodka), Ciroc (grape vodka), and Tall Blond (grain vodka); Jaguar Vodka stood up well. Chopin and Ciroc have a clean scent, meaning there is no scent at all. Tall Blond and Jaguar both have a denatured alcohol scent. All have a clean, full bodied taste worthy of a refreshing straight up martini. With the grape base of Ciroc and the sugar cane base of Jaguar, both make an incredible foundation for top of the line fruit cocktails. What makes Jaguar a little different is their marketing strategy. They set aside a portion of their proceeds to preserve the Jaguar habitat. For more information log on at www.jaguarvodka.com
Enjoy this year’s Valentine’s Day, but do not delay. Next Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Next year it gets scarier. Friday the thirteenth falls just before Valentine’s Day on Saturday. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for scary movies and a Frankentini. The Intoxicologist will be in the lab concocting something special.