MxMo February 2009 – Hard Drinks for Hard Times

February 16th, 2009 by Colonel Tiki

mxmologoThere’s no two ways about it. It’s a hard time out there in the workaday world. Whether you’ve been laid-off, had your hours cut, or taken a pay decrease there’s less of the green to go around. Those hard facts are the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday. My esteemed friend Matt Rowley is hosting the grand sioree over at his whiskey forge. Please add it to your RSS feed if it isn’t already: He’s a good man — and thorough.

I’ve been absent for a bit on the blog an MxMo front lately. There is good and wonderful reason for this however: The birth of my first Son, Sebastian Milton Felix. I was tempted to “pull a doug” and post Sebastian as my “broaden your horizons.” Because believe me, my horizons now are broad and far.

Babies as they say, however, ain’t cheap. Even more the reason for a hard times drink. The fabulous wife was also hard-up for a tipple for nine months. Hard times all around. I have a panacea to cure all these ills: Home-made Southern Comfort. This recipe is the #3 or #4 version and finally ready for release into the wild. Sebastian has another 17 years and 10.5 months till he gets to say the same. My friend Martin gave me this recipe back in … 2004? Time – where does it go? During Tiki Kon II, while we were chatting in the kitchen Heather mentioned how she loved southern comfort while I complained about the artificial flavors. He said something along the lines of “Really? Make your own. Easiest thing: just add orange rind, a bit of juice and vanilla syrup to cheap bourbon. It’s delicious.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few extra ingredients and methods and it is cheap and delicious. This batch was made during the summer especially for Heather when she was out of labor (don’t tell anyone I sneaked a flask of it into the hospital)

Home Comfort & Soda

Home Comfort Liqueur ($11.60)
1 750ml bottle Old Crow ($8.95)
2 peaches ($1)
1 orange ($0.50)
¼ cup vanilla sugar ($0.30)
¼ cup orange blossom honey ($0.75)

Cut the peaches into chunks, zest the orange and reserve the juice. Add the peaches, zest and juice into a mason jar with the bourbon. Let this infuse for at least a week (or two). Strain and blend with the sugar and honey and let sit for at least a month in a cool dark place, shaking regularly. Strain again and enjoy (in a cocktail below?)

Home Comfort & Soda
2oz Home Comfort (recipe above)
4oz Lemon Lime soda

build a la highball in whatever glass that’s clean

Stop on by and Heather might let you have a sip.

Mixology Monday Wrap-up December 2008 – Spice

December 17th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

mxmologoIt’s the Hap-Happiest time of the year! It’s Mixology Monday again, and this month we’re talking about spice. I know it is contemporary to think about oil or water or wood as natural resources to fight over, but spice was THE resource though much of human history. I won’t go on a preachy teacher mission here, but this season take a moment to appreciate the importance and history of spice to our culture, our cuisine, and most importantly, our booze!

Enough of my prattling, let’s get to the wrap-up!

Jake at Liquor is Quicker is first off the bat this time. He gives us his version of a flip with applejack, using cinnamon and cayenne. I love the addition of a nice hot element so he has my attention. Calling it a Flipjack gets only groans. Good groans, though. Please don’t tell anyone I secretly delight in puns.
Jon gives us a recipe for home-made Krupnik at Ednbrg. While nary a cocktail recipe is in view, the combination of cinnamon, honey, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg sound super dreamy. I’d like to try it as a replacement for Licor 43 in some tiki recipes I have.
Tiare at A Mountain of Crushed Ice Gives us the glory of Glogg, which I’m due to post about later in the month for the Mixoloseum. Perhaps I can peek at her crib sheet for influences? Her usual outstanding photography draws you in to the riches of the spiced wine beverage. I’m particularly jealous of the yearly editions she sports. Oh, and of the Demerara in her collection. Oh, and the Cuban Rum in her collection. Yeah.
Jacques at Rosarita Beach Cafe writes about Morgenthaler’s Eggnog (too busy to put one in this month, poor dear), Boudreau’s version of the Alabazam (Seattle’s No.2 strikes again!), and the Curacao cocktail finishes out spice (though that last one is questionable, Jacques 🙂 ).
Tristan at The Wild Drink Blog goes a wassailing in Cornwall. You know, the tip of Great Britain that  sticks its’ tongue out under the nose of Wales? Tristan’s photography is lovely, and his recipe for Wassail is not to be missed. If only I were close enough to get fresh Cornish cider…
We met Steve and Paul from Cocktail Buzz at tales of the cocktail this year. They cover mace as their spice of choice. Nutmeg’s wrapper (as I call it) is like an exclamation point to nutmeg’s period. Sharper, spicier, and less lasting, Mace is a perfect tool to have when you want to instill that flavor at the forefront of a flavor. They showcase it in The Fascist, a mixture of Mace, Pear, and nut flavors. Delicious.
rct Recent newcomers on the blogging scene Jon and Kelley over at Spirits and Such infuse 100% blue agave tequila with Serrano chiles for which to use in a Red-Chile Guava Margarita. The balance of Guava against the heat of the chiles sound heavenly. Welcome to MxMo, here’s to many more!
Frederic at Cocktail Virgin uses Mexican Chocolate to create a tequila-based Choclatl inspired hot drink with cayenne that he calls “Mexicano Hot Chocolate.”
Anthony at Abelha Cachaça creates a Christmas-spice and pear infused cachaça with which to create an old fashioned. The addition of aged cachaça makes me wish I lived next door. If that weren’t enough, he goes on to infuse mince pies into liquor. Oh, Stop! Save a place for me, Anthony.
Stevi at Two at the Most is my three-hour neighbor to the north. We chat all the time at the Mixoloseum bar. Until she sent me the link, I had no idea she decided to make such a fabulous item as Juniper syrup. A bourbon sour is the recipient of the syrup and it sounds completely delicious. I think I’ll have to play with my own juniper berries here. Hmm. Juniper and grains of paradise syrup?
Reese at Cocktail Hacker tackles ol’ Drink Boy’s house bitters for his Spice entry. Hey Reese, feel like shipping some of those out to certain cocktail bloggers? Wink, Wink? Next time I’m in Colorado, I’m ringing you up.
Paul at Cocktailiana get inspired by Indian flavors producing Coriander and Cumin spiced cocktails. Intriguing! I’m glad we have some good stretching of the spice theme – I’m dying to try these recipes myself.
Michael at My Aching Head referces Batanga which is comprised of coca-cola, tequila, salt and lime.
Drinkmix makes an intriguing mix of genever and caraway/juniper. In looking up my own drink name, Heather came across Frau Wacholder from Grimm’s fairy tales – the female spirit of the Juniper tree. Meines Deutsch ist sehr schlecht. Entschuldege!
Christian at Cocktailwelten ist ein andere Deutches Blog. Gruss dich, Christian! Christian puts rosemary togeher with Tequila and agave syrup for a Tommy’s Platino Margarita. Fröliche Weinnachten, Christian!
Felicia at Felicia’s Speackeasy wins some kind of award for using beets in a champagne cocktail. Cinnamon and cayenne show up again. The color looks gorgeous and I’ll bet it tastes just as lovely.
Vidiot at Cocktailians reveals a fascinating mixture of egg nog and cider from Jerry Thomas and makes it his own: General Harrison’s Egg Nog becomes the Tippicanoe Sparkler. We tiki mad folks can also thank President Harrison for presiding over the annexation of Hawaii (just ignore the empire-building nature of it, won’t you?)
Mat aka Rumdood provides a delectable recipe for a Mulled Apple Punch at his site. Spice indeed, he later added a recipe involving Sriracha hot sauce (which is a personal house favorite).
Doug at The Pegu Blog gets eyes rolled at him for choosing to go with his namesake, the Pegu and trying to con us all into Angostura bitters qualifying for the Spice. Only because we like you Doug. Be sure to chide him over at his blog.
Drink of the Week rides the bacon meme with a bacon salt martini. I do believe the vegetarian pope has declared bacon a non-animal product, so veggers, please feel free to partake guilt-free.
Jay at Oh Gosh! is a charming fellow. I also made his acquaintance at Tales this year after following his wise and entertaining blog. He rewards us this month with a Winter Sidecar, using Pimm’s Winter Cup. Oh, how I wish I could get my hands on some of that stateside.
Cynthia at My Brilliant Mistakes creates a cranberry spice syrup and proceeds to offer up a daisy and a sidecar using the product. I’ve often thought that cranberries might make an interesting sloeberry replacement for gin infusion: anyone else find that idea noteworthy?
Marshall at Scofflaw’s Den shows us how to mix up a spice tincture. He bases his off angostura, minus the bittering agents. I highly approve of the mix, and had a similar thought in my offering (at the bottom of the list).
SeanMike at Scofflaw’s Den gives some love to Morgenthaler’s egg nog recipe (that’s 2 so far, Morgey!) as well as an original recipe, “Apple Cider Heaven” which features St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.
Chuck at Gumbo Pages once again does amazing work with the Chen-san, playing with a Szechuan Peppercorn tincture. Chuck recommends some online spice sources as well. Superior!
Meade at Kincke takes out a contract on us with the “Mob Hit.” It’s killer cocktail of rum and spices. Dead Gorgeous. I warned you about the puns.
Darcy at Art of Drink produces a challenging mixture with goldschlager, wasabi-infused rum, spiced rum and rose wine. Spice Girls jokes aside, Darcy is a talented and skilled flavor master. I look forward to trying this concoction.
Michael at A Dash of Bitters has a Ward Cleaver, made with  rye infused with walnuts, peppercorns (pepper is hot this MxMo), cinnamon and lemon zest. I’m dying for this one. Rye is the perfect companion to the spices listed. Good job, Michael!
The Scribe at A Mixed Dram writes about The Redcoat’s Aunt, a spiced tea-based tipple as well as mulled wine. Two great hot beverages for a cold winter.
Nat at Alpha-Cook uses tea, St.Elizabeth allspice dram, and a home-made cinnamon compund butter to construct a tasty-looking hot buttered rum. Winter warmer, indeed!
Kate at Tiny Bubbles reclaims the classic cinnamon with  The First Lady, a pear brandy and champagne cocktail that sounds as delicious as I’m the victory in November was for a majority of my readers.
Blair at Trader Tiki has been a close friend for nearly 10 years. It is a joy to share cocktailia and tikiana and basement tiki bars (not to mention Portland itself). Blair joins the hot/sweet/pungent zeitgeist with his 5-spice syrup and constructs the FIN, a exotic intoxicating mixture I look forward to savoring over the winter holidays. Okole Maluna, Hoaloha!
Jacob Grier may have won first prize with yon Sleeping Scotsman. Dr. Demento listeners should get the reference. If not, you have Google there, people. Use it. The smoky and salty quaff pictured here has my mouth watering. Also, Embury while being a font of great information, is a snotty purist who needs to be taken with these grains of salt. 😉
Matthew at Blotto! uses House Distilleries Ouzo in his Alexandros cocktail, which I have personally sampled and declared highly imbibable. Indeed.
Anita at Married with Dinner offers Shai Hulud, named after the likeness of the hibiscus flower garnish to those pesky sand worms. The Spice is life!  
The Coursing Sling is Kevin’s drink at Beers in the Shower. Sage adds an earthy greyhound variation. I’d argue that sage is a Herb, not a Spice, but Kevin is such a wonderful bartender and fellow that I’ll just let this one slide. After all – I’m sure too see him as he’s a Seattle neighbor. Also, this drink looks amazing.
Paul at The Cocktail Chronicles is the source of all of our merry making and monthly fun. Three cheers to Mr. Paul Clarke for starting Mixology Monday (and in many ways, many if not most of our inspirations to become online cocktail writers as well). Paul gets extra credit for drinking hot gin in his Mr. Micawber‘s Gin Punch. This recipe comes from a volume I myself have recently picked up, “Drinking with Dickens.” It is put together by old Chuck’s Great-Grandson, Cedric. Also, Paul (as is his wont) closes out the list with the last entry.
Craig at Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments is your host this month. I’ll simply let my link speak for itself here. But just *look* at those spices, would, ya? Man that’s impressive.
Gabe at Cocktail Nerd takes a flip and cooks it! Well, he makes the most amazing pumpkin pies I’ve every seen. I wish Oklahoma wasn’t so far away, because I want some slices. Using Pimento Dram in one and Falernum in the other (and Cruzan Blackstrap in both), Gabe satisfies your sweet tooth and your lush’s liver. A Corn’n’Oil finishes out his wonderful post. It’s almost better than your mom would make!

I’d like to thank Paul Clarke for the opportunity to host a month of MxMo and each of the 37 contributors. If anyone is late, please send me email and I’ll get you in. I’m not one for hard-fast rules nor will you find me a stickler. Especially during this season of Giving.

From me and mine to you and yours, I bid you peace.

Mixology Monday December 2008 – Spice

December 15th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

What did I get myself into? This month’s Mixology Monday’s Theme is Spice – picked by yours truly, hosted by yours truly. You’d think that if I pick and host that I should be pre-prepared, right? Nope. Here I am at 8pm writing up my own entry.

I would recommend having a perfect wife as I do. It makes things far easier. Also, try to get a Medieval History major if you can. There are a great deal of interesting ties to medieval cuisine in modern cocktailia. Orgeat comes out of the medieval use of Almond milk to better store fat in nut form to prevent spoilage: Just grind the nuts, and form some emulsion to get the nut fat and you can cook or bake with it. Orgeat is also tied to Barley-water which follows a similar method of extraction to nourish.

In a secret project she’s working on, I’ve pulled out the existence of a spice mix popularly used called “Powder Forte,” or Strong Powder. There was also a “Powder Dulce,” sweet powder. Powder Fort was used with meats and pies and other places where hot/strong flavors are desired. Western Medieval cuisine was what we would connect with savoury today – the French would put a stop to the idea that spices such as ginger, nutmeg, and cloves go with meats in the 1600s.

Powder Fort Mise en Place

The recipes for powder fort vary depending on which text you read, so my approximation is just that – the general ingredients are: Pepper(s), ginger(s), cloves(s), nutmeg(s), cinnamon(s), and grains of paradise. My only lost ingredient I’m still searching for is Long Pepper. Our current Pepper is the individual dried berries of piper nigra, but contemporary medieval cooks would be more familiar with piper longum – a family member that has smaller berries that are dried completly on the catkin, hence the term Long pepper. I have not as of yet been able to been locate a source. (I’d appreciate any help out there in the internets!). Stories say that a certain Spanish King owned orchards of piper nigrum and therefor forbid long pepper so he could push his form of pepper and so now we all know it as pepper, rather than the former more popular long pepper.

I thought I would first make a syrup to play with the mixure to get a hold on the flavor before further experimentation. Some recipes call for a 7-1 cinnamon/pepper/ginger – nutmeg/mace/grains/cloves, others 3-1. I decided to start with 4-1.

My recipe is as follows

Black Pepper 4 tsp. Black Pepper (sub for Long Pepper)

Galangal 1/4 Cup Galangal, diced.

Ginger 1/4 Cup Ginger, diced.

Cassia 2 tsp. ground Cassia

Cinnamon 2 tsp. (2 sticks) ground Cinnamon

Ceubeb 1 tsp. Cuebeb (tailed pepper)

Nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg

Mace 1/2 tsp. ground Mace

Cloves 1 tsp ground Cloves

Grains of Paradise 1 tsp. ground Grains of Paradise

Syrup cookin'Mix with 4 cups sugar, add 3 cups water and slowly bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Let stand for at least 4 hours and strain.

The finished flavor was amazingly balanced for the number of ingredients. The finish is clean, the shape round and gorgeous. After tasting it Heather immediately thought of Gin. I agreed. She suggested a gin milk punch, since she finds it usually one-note or weak. I again agreed. She’s usually right (damn her.)


Melcan Cwicbeam
¾ oz Powder Forte Syrup
2 oz Plymouth Gin
3 oz Milk (Almond milk would also do)

Shake all with cube ice and strain into footed huricane or brandy snifter. Grate nutmeg on top, cinnmaon stick garnish.

The name is a bit anacronistic, beigng Old Engilsh rather than Middle English, but you know – screw the damn Normans. Filthy beggars. The drink itself is anachronistic anyway – distilled liquor comes late to the medieval period, first as elixirs in monasteries, let’s pretend, shall we?

Next I’ll plan to make a Liqueur from the mix, perhaps also a bitters – I’m really in love with this spice mix. I’m definitely in love with Grains of Paradise.

I’ll have the wrap-up posted by tomorrow night, thanks to everyone who particiapted. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joyous Yule, Happy Hannukah, Happy Solstice, Joyous Saturnalia, Happy Kwanzaa, and Adequate Festivas to you and yours!