Having mastered homemade hard apple cider, I've been excited to try it in cooking and mixed into a cocktail. The best, by far, is the classic Snakebite, a blend of lager and cider with a dash of blackcurrant cordial.
The nighttime is the right time...for cocktails that is. "As twilight descends and drinks are poured, add bite to your beverage with the Cold Blooded Vampire ice cubes. Perfect for Bloody Mary and other spine-tingling drinks fit for the vampire lovers in your family."
The tray's even shaped like a coffin!
A few weeks ago, I posted about my research into brewing hard apple cider at home and on the cheap. I continued to look into it, and promptly made a batch that just finished maturing. I tried the first bottle earlier this week...and, it's really good.
I used champagne yeast, which cost 74¢ and a $4.50 gallon of local, preservative-free apple cider, for which I got nearly a gallon of homemade hard cider. Lowballing it, I got 110oz for $5.25. Compare that to $8.99 (on sale) for a six-pack of Woodchuck (72 oz total) at my local grocery store.
A few weeks ago, we featured a few how-tos for making "bachelor's jam," a preserving method that fuses alcohol and fresh fruit. The technique there, basically, is to fill a jar with fruit and cover it with alcohol.
Last week, the New York Times featured a few more thorough recipes, designed to take advantage of complimentary flavors and general tastiness. "Perhaps the best example of following seasons in a boozy fruit mix is rumtopf — a German preserve that spans the entire growing season. Classic recipes have you start in June by mixing strawberries with sugar and rum. As other fruits ripen, they are added in layers, then the whole thing is left to mellow until Christmas.
Hit Chicago-based chef and restauranteur Grant Achatz had an interesting weekend dabbling in a bit of molecular mixology.
"Achatz tweeted... that he and [Chef de Tournant] Schoettler were "playing with sensation and texture in a gin and tonic," with a link to the above video (h/t Grub Street Chicago). "Playing with sensation and texture" seems to be an understatement. The gin and tonic Achatz is sampling in the video contains Anchor Junipero gin, yellow chartreuse and "cucumber alginate encapsulation."
It was only a matter of time, really...somebody was bound to think of this sooner or later.
Mexican-style lager pair with fresh lime and sweetened just a bit with natural agave syrup. We especially like this one cause you get to cut through the beer can with a knife or a hacksaw, late-night infomercial style.
When I was a kid, my parents always made iced tea in this vintage sun tea jar, complete with big 70s yellow poppies and a broken spigot. I never really realized what they were doing by sitting that thing on the back porch...besides making us chase extra fast to grab missed catches and tags during our neighborhood kickball game.
It's a pretty clever idea, the sun tea...when its this hot outside, the last thing you want to do is boil a big kettle of water and cool it down for hours to make a cold drink. But know what's even awesome-r, and quicker? Simply making great ice tea in your refrigerator overnight.
I know, I know...It's June 1st, and Cocktail Party Month has just finished up, but this round up of great, inexpensive liquors and spirits is too great not to share. Master food blog Chow has created a great list of tasty and quality liquors that are great for mixing drinks or for entertaining. They'll beat the pants off of the diluted, toxic junk they sell in the grocery store, and are great options for those spirits that you don't generally prefer, but want to keep in your home bar for guests, cooking, etc. A couple bourbons, a few ryes, two tequilas, a rum, and gin, all clocking in under $20.
Limoncello is a sweet, lemon-flavored liqueur that originates from the southern regions of Italy. It's usually served chilled and straight up, as a lovely after dinner digestif. It has a strong lemon flavor, but contains none of the sourness associated with lemons, since its made by infusing the peel of the lemon, rather than the juice.
And SiNCE its merely lemon peel infused into high proof alcohol, it means you can make it at home! In bulk! It only takes three ingredients - lemon peels, sugar, and grain alcohol, and about three months.
The Manhattan is the cocktail that can best show what rye whiskey can do. It was invented in honor of the election of New York Governor Samuel Tilden in 1874.
The classic recipe features a 2:1 ratio of rye to vermouth, stirred in a mixing glass, then strained into an iced martini glass. Variations include a perfect Manhattan, made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, and a Rob Roy, which is made with scotch, recipe below.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz sweet vermouth (or 1/2 oz each dry and sweet for a perfect Manhattan)
- 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Maraschino or Bourbon cherry, for garnish
1. Add all the ingredients into
Whether you're stuck without the appropriate tools, or just want an opportunity to show off some cool parlor tricks, there are plenty of ways to open a beer or other capped bottle without an manufactured bottle opener. Since we got such a great response for our Five Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew, we thought we'd assemble five of these beer bottle tricks.
Oh, and yes, it is possible to do this with your teeth, but please, please don't. It's not worth it, and people aren't really laughing with you...
1. With a lighter. Check out this classic simple machine principle at work from the Wired wiki. Also works with a spoon
There's a really weird origin story that surrounds the Collins. And by really weird, I mean some sort of hoax that I'm not quite sure I get. The Wikipedia article leaves me quite confused, but this post at Mental Floss explains a bit better:
"The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874...begat The King of Cooling Drinks, the Tom Collins. The hoax kicked off with a prankster telling a group that they were being talked about by the loose lipped Tom Collins, and then sending them on an angry goose chase to find him.
In 1874, the Steubenville Daily Herald reported that the hoax “belong[ed] to New York, where it was played with immense success
The greasy breakfast is a classic post-imbibe trick, and as it turns out, there's scientific data to prove it. The BLT is a perfect food to help your body break down the effects of alcohol faster. The protein and aminos in bacon and the carbohydrates in bread are exactly what you need - in addition to LOTS of water - to begin to get your toxin levels down to normal.
The same study also proved something else we all know - Cooked bacon is nearly irrestible...
" 'The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There's something deeper going on inside. It's not just the idea of a tasty snack
There's no clever, charming story to detail the history of the Sidecar - no one really knows where it was invented, or by whom, though the Ritz hotel in Paris claims it was invented there in the late 1910s.
Regardless, this is a fun one that'll make you feel like you're back in the post-prohibition swing days. It's usually served up, in a chilled martini glass with a sugared rim, but might also be served in a rocks glass with ice.
You may not know it yet, but the Negroni is your new favorite cocktail. It's strong, balanced, absolutely delicious, and makes a perfect pre-dinner cocktail that'll match nearly anything you're eating during the warm months.
The drink was supposedly invented in Florence in the 1920s, when Count Negroni asked the bartender to pump up his Americano (equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari, served tall with soda water) with gin.
And if you're brave enough to flame an orange peel, it's totally worth it. The toastiness of the orange oils mixed with the bitters and the spices of gin is a very fine thing indeed.
The pairing of wine with food is a classic tradition. Sommeliers - wine stewards - spend years training their palattes to not only recognize the subtle differences between wine vintages, but also learn how each of wine's qualities interact with different foods to make a explosive tastebud experience.
But, the complexity and diversity of beer can also match the variety of flavors in your meals. Craft brewers exercise great care to create subtlety and nuance in their brews. So, sure, ambers will always go great with pizza and cheeseburgers, but don't stop there.
Margaritas are simple drinks, though most of us wouldn't know it. We've been weaned on the sweetened, frozen, bright green slushies that replaced the classic margarita in Tex Mex restaurants in the 1970s.
But a real margarita, made not from a mix but 100% pure agave tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juce, is all about brightness and freshness. As such, use a silver or blanco tequila, so the oak-aged flavors of a reposado or an añejo don't interfere with the high-end crispness of the Cointreau and the kick of fresh-squeezed lime. If you do need a little sweetener, dissolve just a touch of sugar in the lime juice before shaking...but try the original, at least once, and see what you think.
ManMade wants you to throw your own cocktail parties, and we'd like to help.
So, during the two weeks of May 17 - 30th, we're giving away a Home Bar Essentials gift kit that includes over $100 of great tools to make it happen. All you'll have to do is grab some glassware and bring the spirits.
The goodies include EVERYTHING on ManMade's Top Ten Essential Bar Tools, plus plenty of extra stuff thrown in for fun. If you win, you'll recieve:
- Professional-grade Boston shaker set
- 28 oz metal beaker
- 16 oz mixing glass
- Hawthorne strainer
- Long bar spoon
- Bartender's bottle opener
- Two refillable squirt bottles
The Bellini was invented in the 1940s at Harry's Bar in Venice, the famous destination spot for elite tourists and celebrities, like Ernest Hemingway (Much of Across the River and into the Trees is set there), that was also the birthplace of beef carpaccio.
Bellinis used to only be made during the summer months, when fresh peaches were in season, but thanks to modern technology, flash-frozen peach purees are available, allowing Bellinis to stay on brunch menus everywhere.
These make great pre-lunch starts, and somehow works equally well on the backside of a meal as a dessert. And if you do it well, it becomes an interactive experience