Tag Archives: vodka

The Black Pearl

So, it’s been a while, how’ve you been? I took a much-needed hiatus from food blogging for a bit while I sorted a few things out, but there will be more about that later.

I also had to take a bit of a break from… calories. The boy and I have been doing our best to watch what we eat, get a bit more exercise and try to shed a few pounds. Unfortunately, this meant that I would have to cut back on something I love: booze. No more pitchers of martinis for me! Instead enjoying one or two drinks every few nights is a more conducive habit to good fitness goals. I wouldn’t cut drinking out completely, but applying a bit of moderation didn’t hurt.

Still, it had been a while since I’d come up with anything new on the bar and I decided that the result of my next set of cocktail experiments should reflect my “mourning period” and be colored an appropriate shade of black. Thing is, it is amazingly difficult to find “black” cocktails using Google without coming up with a lot of unhelpful results. I found a lot that have the word black in the name, but not too many that are the color black after being mixed. Or worse, recipes that didn’t “cheat” by using either Blavod Black Vodka which I wasn’t in the mood to hunt down, or Black Raspberry or Cherry liqueurs, neither of which I’m a fan of.

The Black Pearl

The flavors of peach, pear, orange and pomegranate come together for a cocktail on the sweet side with a gothic black tint.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz vodka, pear infused
  • 34 oz 100% pomegranate juice
  • 12 oz peachtree schapps
  • 12 oz blue curacao

Instructions

  1. Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

This recipe produced the visual result that I was looking for with that “just a hint of sweet” undercurrent that I enjoy. I have no problem with pink drinks, but when it comes to my bar, the “girlier” the cocktail, the faster you’re hitting the floor… I tried adding spirits of other colors, but the flavors didn’t help the drink at all and while it isn’t “true” black, with the right lighting, it does the trick. The fun of it is that the longer the drink sits–as if you’d let this cocktail settle?!–the purple of the pomegranate separates from the blue curacao to create a BIV (as in ROY G.) spectrum of color flowing from the top to the bottom.

With my usual boldness and panache, I’ll go out on a limb and call The Black Pearl–named by a good friend–my signature cocktail for the season. I’m not likely to be creating too many more drinks this summer as that might be too much temptation to break the drinking limits, it’s a safe call.

Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea

One of the latest entries in the pre-mixed cocktail world, Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea1 is posing itself as the company’s summer drink for 2011 along with its usual fare of “strike a pose”-inducing rums. I’m typically not a fan of pre-mixed bottled drinks, but given the LIIT’s gateway drink status, I figured I would give it a chance.

Considering what it takes to make a Long Island Iced Tea (recipe below), I wouldn’t be inclined to make one on the fly and it certainly wouldn’t be my party drink of choice unless I was making a pitcher–or bucket–ahead of time and letting guests ladle it out themselves. I do this with sangria and it works just fine. About the only fun of making a LIIT, or any other similar concoction is that you feel like a mad scientist pouring various fluids together to make a seemingly innocent mixture that will knock you on your ass. But beyond that, it’s sort of a pain, especially to make just one. I understand why companies make the pre-mixed versions.

Long Island Iced Tea

  • 12 oz. gin
  • 12 oz. rum
  • 12 oz. tequila
  • 12 oz. vodka
  • 12 oz. triple sec
  • 12 oz. lemon juice*
  • 12 oz. simple syrup
  • Coke (or similarly cola-like soda)
  1. Add ingredients to a Highball or Collins glass with 3-4 ice cubes and stir.
  2. Top off with Coke, from a “splash” to 2 oz. or so, to taste and color.

For such a “simple” drink, there are many variations on this recipe, the above is my take on it and produced a well-mixed, nicely sweet result.

* Many recipes call for sweet & sour mix, which I can’t stand. You can usually substitute lemon juice or a 50/50 mix of lemon and lime juice to your liking.

How does the Captain Morgan mix compare to the original recipe? It’s comparable, definitely has the right color, but the taste is a little strong on citrus and caramel to emulate the cola. If you’ve ever gone to a bar offering a special on LIITs, it tastes a bit better than the ones you’d get there. It makes for a prettier drink as mine was a bit murky from the type of juice I used and a blind taste test didn’t help since the original recipe has the slight carbonation that the Captain Morgan mix doesn’t. I’ve never heard of using flat cola to make a LIIT, but after two or three servings of either version, I doubt you’d miss it… or notice… or notice much else at that point except the location of the nearest comfy seat.

We found the 1.75 liter bottles at Calvert Woodley for about $20, so from a cost perspective, if your party theme demanded LIITs and your guests weren’t of terribly discriminating taste2, go with the Captain. The cost is a lot better than trying to grab even rail versions of the required liquors and the taste is smoother than making it with really cheap booze.

A Long Island Iced Tea is known as a “sipping cocktail” rather than one that should be slammed, so with proper serving sizes and moderation/discretion, it goes a long way. Given that everyone’s take on the LIIT is a bit different, I’d say that the Captain Morgan version is more likely to be easier on the alcohol percentages than one made by hand, but your mileage may vary.

For my money, I’d stick to keeping a classically stocked bar and not trying to bog down host or bartender duties mixing up tedious cocktails3 on the fly… unless that’s your thing, of course. I don’t judge.

1 Full disclosure: I was sent a gift card and rebate for purchase and reimbursement of the beverage in addition to promotional swag… or booty, one might say.

2 I’m talking the flavored malt beverage crowd, here.

3 I realize many “craft cocktails” are also falling into the tedious category, but I think most people planning a party around cocktails have done their prep well enough so they don’t get stuck behind the bar… I hope.

The Sweet Clementini

Of course, anytime is cocktail time. One might argue that the classic cocktail party is more appreciated during the colder months when people gather together to keep warm. And like cookies, cocktails are a sometimes treat. I won’t deny that I enjoy a good drink, but I won’t condone them becoming a bad habit.

That said, I present the Sweet Clementini. An easy-to-sip martini, sweet and tart with a hint of citrus and the color of a lazy Southern sunset. It came about as part of my experiments with sweet tea and vodka–not sweet tea vodka.

I believe sweet tea vodka is a brilliant invention, however sweet/iced tea is a very sensitive subject depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you’re on. I was born just north of it, but raised well south of it and my experience of iced tea varies from overbrewed and over-sweetened to sun-brewed and flavorful. My father, bless his heart, likes his tea to taste like brown sugar water. I prefer to be able to detect the flavor of the leaves used, but I do like it pretty sweet, using the ice to temper the sweetness. Still, most sweet tea vodkas ride a middle level, focusing on sweet, almost candy-like alcoholic liquid. I figured, since one can easily make sweet iced tea (I’ll reveal my secret method for fast-brewed iced tea at a later date) and a proper drinks cabinet should always have vodka on-hand, why couldn’t I just add one to the other to suit my own tastes or the tastes of the drink I was crafting?

Sweet Clementini [neé Unnamed 'tini #6]

It’s a very simple recipe and owes more to classic mixed drink than martini proportions:

  • 2 parts clementine flavored vodka
  • 3 parts sweet (southern style) iced tea
  • 3 parts cranberry juice (100% juice–not cocktail–used)

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass, or make in larger portions and serve over ice. But as you can see, it’s a much more pleasing presentation in a martini glass, especially with the right lighting! The name was given by the folks over at Madtini who host a constant Mad Men-inspired cocktail party on their blog and twitter. There is only one company I know of making clementine flavored vodka, but any citrus–sweet, not grapefruit or lemon–vodka should work, or you could buffer it with an orange flavored liqueur.

Because of the lower alcohol to mixer ratio, this one will not get you instantly hammered, and it probably will raise the ire of martini purists. If you want a more boozy cocktail (or potential shot), change the proportions to equal parts of all three ingredients, but I suspect this is middle of the road enough to be enjoyed by both your lightweight and seasoned drinking buddies. On a warm Spring or Summer day, when you’re hanging around in your apartment with the windows open, or on a roofdeck with friends overlooking the city, I guarantee that a round of these will fit the bill perfectly. I’m going on record now and calling it my signature cocktail for the season.

… though I’m certain that it won’t be the last.

I’ll need a clean mop and a LOT of ice!

Adventures in Shaw noted the following story on her twitter account. Apparently the NBC4 anchor said about it, “If you’re a drunk, we have some sad news.” — Hey news anchor… don’t you judge me!

A forklift driver in a Russian vodka factory plows into a shelf that causes a horrible chain reaction:

People viewing the debacle since it was posted on a Russian video-sharing site estimated $175,000 of vodka was trashed. The driver walked away with only a minor leg injury.

I’m not going to lie, I shed a little tear. I have no idea when this actually happened as most “news” sites carrying it only talk about it being on the video site with no more detail beyond that. Still, talk about having your worst day ever.