Archive for the ‘Cachaca’ Category

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New Cocktail – The Refresher

January 14, 2013

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After a few weeks off from consistent blogging, I’m seriously refreshed. No matter what your passion, sometimes you need to step away and leave your thoughts behind and the result is almost always a bit of clarity. So it isn’t that surprising that I was on a serious cocktail kick this weekend with new ideas and a new energy to try some local establishments.

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During our week-long trip in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica I managed to drink the majority of the cachaça in town. When almost every bar and restaurant lists a caipirinha at 2700 colones ($5.40), it’s easy to knock a few of these back. But one of my absolute favorites was the kiwi caipirinhas we had on the beach. Maybe the surroundings helped, but we’ve been craving those cocktails ever since we got home. Friday night I got to work replicating with mashed kiwis, simple syrup, and cachaça. And while I got pretty darn close, the lack of really fresh kiwis, not surprisingly, ruined it for me. So if you live near fresh kiwis, email me, we’ll talk recipe.

But like I mentioned early on, my kick lasted the whole weekend and my tangerine, tarragon, and cachaça cocktail from Saturday night was a major redeemer. You know how much I love infusing fresh herbs into my simple syrups and the tarragon is another example of how easy and delicious this approach can be. The subtle liquorice flavors mellow into the syrup and totally compliment the fresh juice of the tangerines. The result is one of the more refreshing cocktails I’ve ever made, and another reason to stock your liquor cabinet up with cachaça. Enjoy!

The Refresher

1 1/2 oz cachaça

3 oz fresh tangerine juice

1 oz tarragon simple syrup

1 lemon wedge

Splash of seltzer

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake the first three ingredients and pour with ice into a cocktail glass. Finish with the squeeze of the lemon wedge, a splash of seltzer and a tarragon sprig for garnish.

Tarragon Simple Syrup

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 large bunch of tarragon

In a small sauce pan heat the sugar and water until boiling. Add the tarragon, let boil for another minute and then cut the heat. Let sit for a half hour before straining. Keep in the refrigerator until ready for use.

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Welcome to the Night Cap!

December 3, 2012

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There is nothing better than seeing the time and thought you put into an event pay off and there was no better example of that, than this weekends very first Night Cap! Adam, Keith, and I couldn’t be happier and that’s in large part due to all of you out there who were able to grab a ticket to the sold out event and make it as worthwhile and fun as it was! You guys kicked ass and we can’t wait until the next one…

As for Saturday night, we’ll be posting a few pictures and recipes throughout the week but I couldn’t help myself and thought I’d at least share a little bit of what went down at the Night Cap…

We owe our friends at Leblon a big thank you for helping us out with the evening, particularly by sharing their aged cachaça, their Reserva Especial that was launched in Brazil earlier in the year. For those of you somewhat unfamiliar with cachaça, this Brazilian spirit comes from fermented sugar cane juice and is most popular for the use in a traditional and delicious drink called the caipirinha. While it certainly is perfect for this refreshing cocktail, I love to use cachaça for so much more. And the aging for the Reserva Especial brings out even more delicious subtleties. Which is why it worked perfectly for our first drink of the evening, our Hot Brazilian Toddy to let everyone warm up from the cold.

Our guests were then treated to 5 more drinks throughout the evening including a glass of Gruet sparkling wine that’s story lives up to the quality of the wine itself. Gilbert Gruet, who grew up in France to become a passionate Champagne producer was traveling through the southwest of the US in the early 80s and recognized a surprising potential for his wine passion in the state of New Mexico. Years later, the Gruet Winery is still producing some of the most delicious sparkling wine I’ve ever tasted (our guests can thank Keith and Adam for this one).

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Kicking it back to the cocktails we treated everyone to two more delicious concoctions. My pumpkin pie old-fashioned featuring W.L. Weller and Adam’s Applejack Rabbit (check back tomorrow for the recipe on this one) featuring apple brandy had everyone in the room buzzing as the night continued to flow from there. More amazing wine and .75 liter bottles of Rare Vos were featured as we all snacked on cheese and roasted cashews (and a little pumpkin pie) as the party kept going until 4:30 in the morning. What a night!

Thanks again to Adam and Keith and a special shout out to Naomi for all the help leading up to the event and of course one more big thank you to the Leblon team. Check back soon for more recipes, more information about future events, and a few great pictures from this past Saturday night. And our Hot Brazilian Toddy recipe card from the night is posted below!

Facebook – The Night Cap NYC

Twitter – @NightCapNYC

Hot Toddy

 

 

 

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The Cabral

October 19, 2012

Part of the reason I love making cocktails is that the ability you gain from experience is exponential. Just like I used to rant on about on the food blog, once you discover that a quality dish or drink requires a certain balance of flavors the list of ingredients available for your experiments expands tremendously.

The Cabral, named after the Portuguese Noble(r)man whom discovered the land of Brazil where the key ingredients in this cocktail originate from, is a perfect example of this learned balance. A while ago I posted about a classic recipe for the perfect margarita. 2 oz tequila, 1 oz orange liqueur, and the juice of half a lime. Over some crushed ice, this recipe makes you wonder why you’d ever purchase a pre-mix again. So when I first got my hands on this new macerated Acai liqueur (Cedilla) from the Leblon team, it was my natural inclination to start off with something simple, something just like that margarita recipe.

In this case the combination of cachaça with the acai liqueur is another success story. Not surprisingly as Leblon is producing both products but the balance between sweet, crisp, and acidity in this cocktail makes it refreshing and delicious. Plus the color is dynamite. The point is, sometimes it’s hard to break away from the standard purchases at the liquor store, but recipes like this showcase why it’s worth trying new things. After you’ve had one or four of these, you won’t be disappointed to have cachaça and Cedilla in your cocktail toolbox.

Enjoy the weekend and don’t forget to grab your ticket to the Night Cap NYC!

The Cabral

2 oz Leblon Cachaça

1 oz Cedilla

Juice of half a lime

Lime for garnish

In a cocktail shaker full of ice mix the first three ingredients until well combined. Strain over some crushed ice and garnish with the lime slice. Can’t be more simple than that!

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Invest in Quality Liqueur

October 8, 2012

Walk into a decent liquor stores these days, and you might be shocked to see the number of liqueurs available. Unfortunately, most of our first experiences with liqueurs were pretty typical and pathetic: sneaking into our parents liquor cabinet grabbing bottles we had no clue about, or getting ready for our first attempt at making margaritas with the $8.99 bottle of triple sec. This of course is why even now today, I am a bit deterred from picking up a number of the more well used and popular brands like St. Germain (Elderflower Liqueur) at thirty some bucks a bottle. But after a quick taste of this new acai based liqueur offering from the Leblon team, I realized I really got a get over that ridiculousness.

I won’t go too deep into the Cedilla yet, because I want to work on a few cocktails before I post more, but I can tell you it’s really delicious. And the key, a key crucial for all of these typically lower alcohol, higher sugar content beverages, is quality. The triple sec example is another fantastic one. A really great homemade margarita will incorporate a portion of orange liqueur. Triple sec is the commodity option for orange liqueur. However, as you work your way up the pricing ladder through Cointreau and Grand Marnier you start to find true orange flavor, as opposed to artificial sweetness.

So it seems obvious then, that the biggest deterrent, besides our past experiences, is the price that is linked to the quality; like I said, expect to pay more than 30 bucks for some of the more worthwhile liqueurs. But in this case, you do indeed get what you pay for. And the good news is that these should really be used as supporting ingredients in your cocktails making them last longer than most bottles of booze. That should help make the bottle worth the investment and trust me, after a few drinks, you’ll be glad you made the switch.

But just in case you need a little more nudging, once you’ve made the switch (and I need to listen to my own advice here), you might even find yourself sipping on your liqueur on it’s own. They tend to act as perfect after dinner drinks and for those us who like to drink our dessert, it’s a match made it heaven!

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Thyme to Make Your Own Simple Syrup

June 26, 2012

I’ve been mildly obsessed the last few weeks with thyme infused cocktails because well, they are f’n great. As I mentioned in the Nec of Thyme posting, the herbaciousness and citrusy flavor profile of thyme makes it ideal for summer fruit and liquor. In the Old Man Thyme, the balance comes from Red Jacket Orchard’s apricot stomp which pairs with Cachaça like you wouldn’t believe. But adding a few thyme sprigs after you are all shook up won’t do the trick here…

Simple syrups are one of the easiest game changing ingredients you should be making on your own. Traditionally a mix of 50/50 sugar and water, the simple syrup is the perfect way to sweeten your drinks in a controllable fashion. Sugar itself is difficult to dissolve on the fly so by producing the simple syrup in advance, you can have this cocktail ingredient constantly at your disposal. But there’s no reason to stop at sugar and water.

One of the greatest ways to impart flavors into your drinks is through simple syrup. Herbs and spices in particularly transfer their flavor extremely well in simple syrup production so you can really take this process and run with it. I’ve cut back on the sugar content over the years as I find the full sweetness level of traditional simple syrups can be overwhelming, and I love adding some citrus to the mix to further balance the flavors. Start making yourself some herb based simple syrups and I promise you’ll be making impressive cocktails constantly. Plus, when you decide you need a day off, and the only way you can convince yourself not to drink is to trick yourself (I’m not the only one, right?), these simple syrups in iced tea or seltzer are really friggin refreshing. Enjoy!

Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup

1 ½ cups water

Juice of one lemon

1 cup sugar

1 bunch of fresh thyme

In a sauce pan bring the first three ingredients to a boil and stir quickly to ensure the sugar has dissolved. Add the fresh thyme, turn the heat off and let the simple syrup sit for one hour. Remove the fresh thyme and store the syrup in a container in the refrigerator until use.

Old Man Thyme

2 oz cachaça

1 oz lemon thyme syrup

3 oz Red Jacket Orchards apricot stomp

1 lime wedge

Splash of seltzer

Thyme for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, shake the first three ingredients and pour over a rocks glass with ice. Finish with a splash of seltzer, a squeeze of the lime, and some fresh thyme for garnish.

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The Meloncress

April 26, 2012

I’m not a huge fan of store bought flavored vodkas but I have to admit, Absolut manages to produce a few damn good ones. A while back I stumbled upon their Absolut New Orleans which touted a mango and black pepper infusion. To my surprise, it was delicious. Even on it’s own, where flavored vodkas often suffer from a cloying or artificial flavor profile, this blend was really drinkable. Now if they really had wanted to impress me they would have made their New Orleans inspired vodka infused with wood-fired oysters and muffalettas, but beggars can’t be choosers.

It was this sweet and peppery profile that had me buzzing last night to make up this new cocktail for you guys. Originally I picked up this fresh cantaloupe and a head of watercress for some good old fashioned eating, but when I realized I still had my hand’s on fellow Nobler, Mark’s juicer I got to work. Watercress has an unbelievably delicious peppery bite and compared to related greens like mustard, their flavor is a bit lighter making them perfect for cocktail pairing. The ripe sweetness of the cantaloupe blends perfectly with the watercress and with a little citrus to bring it all together, this new guy is a definite winner. I paired the juice with Cachaça, a Brazilian spirit distilled from fresh sugarcane juice. You might be familiar with it as it is used in the very popular Caipirinha, or maybe from one of my original posts, the Clear and Sunny. Meloncress, I officially welcome you to the Juice Bar team.

The Meloncress

2 oz Cachaça

4 oz Melon and Watercress Juice

1 Splash Seltzer

Mix the first two ingredients together and pour over a highball glass with ice. Finish off with a splash of seltzer and a few watercress leaves for garnish.

Melon and Watercress Juice

1/2 Ripe Cantaloupe

2 Heads of Watercress (a few leaves reserved for garnish)

Juice of 1 Lime

Using a juicer, juice the peeled and chopped cantaloupe and reserve the juice. Juice the watercress into a second container. Squeeze the lime juice into the watercress liquid and then add the juice from the cantaloupe. Keep chilled and mix well before using.

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