Thursday, October 18, 2012
This week, we had started to plan trying a baseball or tiger themed drink, as we sat down with our friends to watch the ALCS game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. Unfortunately, the game was canceled thanks to the threat of rain, and we ended up settling on trying to pick something that would go well with our meal instead. I had some wonderful vietnamese chicken sausage made by Corridor Sausage Co. that I had picked up at Eastern Market on Tuesday, and I made a sort of variation on teriyaki stir-fry with it. Basically, I used a little canola oil and a little sesame oil, cooked the sausage enough to cut it up, then sauteed it with some red onion, baby bok choy, bell peppers, and a hot pepper from my garden. Then, I added leftover teriyaki sauce I had made recently when I did a ginger teriyaki, and some fish sauce to give it more of a vietnamese flavor. At the last minute, I added green onion, and I should have added the leafy part of the bok choy, but I forgot it, so I guess I'll be using it soon in something else. At any rate, based on what we had on our shelves, we chose to try a sake-based drink to go along with it in order to stay more in the asian realm of flavors.
The Saketini replaces the dry vermouth in a standard martini with sake. For those of us who are not vermouth fans, this is an intriguing possibility, since there is a certain similarity in flavor between a dry vermouth and sake. That is to say that while they are obviously not the same, it makes much more sense to sub it for the vermouth than for the gin.
2 1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 Tbsp sake rice wine
1 cocktail olive
Stir gin and sake over ice, garnish with an olive.
The verdict: Scott and I both enjoyed this mare than we like a regular martini, and I would say I liked it better than a normal glass of sake, though I didn't ask Scott that question. I feel that the gin made it brighter than sake normally is. On the other hand, one of our friends couldn't drink it.
Last week, I settled on the Derby cocktail, trying to make something of the last mint in the garden, which in retrospect was rather shabby, as you can see from the photo.
1 oz Bourbon
1⁄2 oz Sweet vermouth
1⁄2 oz Orange Liqueur
3⁄4 oz Lime juice
1 lf Mint (as garnish)
1 wdg Lime (as garnish)
Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with mint and lime wedge.
The verdict: I thought that it was a fairly straight forward, nice twist on a sour, with the orange note, and with a bit of extra spice from the higher rye content in the Woodford Reserve bourbon we chose. Scott liked it, but our guest did not. Then again, our guest also noted that he is not much of a fan of bourbon. Personally, I suspect it is the rye-heavy aspect he doesn't particularly like, since he has enjoyed other bourbon drinks in the past, made with other brands of bourbon.
Monday, October 8, 2012
It has turned colder here, and on Wednesday, I broke out the Woodford bourbon for a more spicy and warm cocktail. Flowers were a bit of a theme for the night, since I also fried up some cheese-stuffed squash blossoms for dinner, so I ended up selecting Wild Flower for the night's cocktail.
1 oz Gin
1⁄2 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain
1⁄2 oz Bourbon
1 ds Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a large snifter.
The verdict: This drink was an interesting progression of flavors. Rather than appearing all at once, we felt that taste began with the gin, them moved to the bourbon, and finished with an elderflower aftertaste. One of our guests was particularly fond, and I liked it, but Scott was not much of a fan. He said he preferred the other elderflower drinks we had tried.
Our friends brought over something else for us to try - a special limited edition mead from their excursion to the B. Nektar Meadery. The brand is made in Ferndale, MI, just outside of Detroit, and we had a great time at their anniversary festival last year. This particular mead - Cherry Chipotle - is quite unusual, as they added cherry juice to the honey before fermentation, and steeped it in chipotle peppers after fermentation. As the bottle recommended, we paired it with a chocolate cake, and it was a lovely, smokey, spicy combination. I felt that it tasted more like a spicy cherry wine than a mead.