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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with sugar

20Sep 12

Lemon Cranberry Splash

Lemon Cranberry Splash

Pucker up for this lemon cranberry splash cocktail! Unlike most of the cocktails I write about, this tipple I concoted myself. Well, that’s not to say that others don’t do the exact same thing, but in my travels, I have never seen one exactly like it.

The lemon and cranberry flavours seem to blend together, but there is a bit of a sour aftertaste. That’s why I usually like to rim my glass with sugar to offset the tart flavour of the fruit.

For the lemony flavour, I like to make my home-made lemonade. It takes a bit longer to prepare, but I prefer natural ingredients as opposed to the shop-bought version. However, I have been thinking about having a go at combining limoncello with a bit of cranberry juice to substitute for the lemonade. Using both limoncello and vodka will make the cocktail as a whole a bit stronger, though. So if you are considered a lightweight drinker, you could probably just take out the vodka all together.

As I said before, this is really just playing around with flavours. And in all honesty, I believe this is still a work in progress. I don’t believe I have quite perfected the recipe yet, so if you have any ideas, leave a comment and let me know!

A food complement to this cocktail might be these lemon and sesame chicken breasts.

Lemon Cranberry Splash
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
A work-in-progress tart cocktail
Ingredients
  • 8cl freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6cl water
  • 5g sugar
  • 1 lemon peel swirl
  • 5cl vodka
  • 2cl cranberry juice
  • 2 cranberries
  • ice
Instructions
  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a large pitcher.
  2. Stir in the sugar until it completely dissolves.
  3. Add the water and the splash of cranberry juice, stirring all the while.
  4. When mixed together, pour the cranberry lemonade into a cocktail shaker with the vodka and ice.
  5. Meanwhile, use a slice of lemon to moisten the rim of your martini glass.
  6. Dip it in sugar so that it is completely covered.
  7. Shake the ingredients in the cocktail shaker until condensation forms on the outside of the glass.
  8. Pour into the martini glass and garnish with a lemon swirl and the cranberries.

 

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28Jun 12

The real story behind the first daiquiri

DaiquiriCuba, for some reason, has always been a source of inspiration for the invention of drinks. There are many stories about bars like La Bodeguita del Medio, where Ernest Hemingway used to drink, and the history of sugar cane is attatched to the history of rum as much as it is to the history of the country. Today, I want to tell you about a very well-known cocktail, which can be mixed with a number of fruits and is a classic in Cuba and worldwide: the daiquiri.

On the 20th June, 1898, American troops landed in Cuba to get involved in the Hispanic-Cuban-American war. They chose two beaches to do so: Siboney and Daiquiri, the latter near Santiago de Cuba in the south of the country. The American soldiers were wearing winter uniforms when they set out on their campaign, and dehydration became a huge problem. When they joined the Cuban forces, though, they were saved by a refreshing drink that the local soldiers served them: “La canchánchara”, a mix of rum, water, lemon and honey.

Many years after that event, Emilio Gonzalez (also know as “Maragoto”), a Spanish bartender, took that formula and turned it into a fancy cocktail served at the Plaza Hotel in La Habana. After that, it was inmortalized by Constantino Ribalaigua, “El Gran Constante”, at La Floridita, another famous bar in the Cuban capital. He tok the original recipe and invented the “frappé daiquiri”, a “Below Zero” version of the first daiquiri, using loads of ice and also adding a few drops of marraschino, a very delicate, sweet and scented liqueur. Then he gave it the magical touch: he just poured everything into a blender and the mix came out looking like a snowflake.

Maraschino liqueur is used in various cocktails, among which includes the morello aviation cocktail, a cherry-flavoured delight. It is a perfect, yet subtle, complement to many tipples. And garnishing it with a maraschino cherry is the finishing touch!

To begin with, it was known as the “Wild Daiquiri” or the “Original”. Over the decades, it has been modified so many times there is practically a different recipe and fruit in every summer resort around the world. The story of the drink, however, remains the same, as does the original mix of one of my favourite cocktails.

Needed:

  • 3cl white rum
  • 1 spoonful of sugar
  • Half a squeezed lemon
  • Plenty of grinded ice
  • A drop of maraschino liqueur

How to make it:

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and shake for at least 30 seconds.
2. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge with a maraschino cherry.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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17May 12

Tom Collins

Tom CollinsDuring my years on the road, I have learnt a great deal about local drinks and mixes in the different regions I have visited. And although every country is proud of a particular beverage, there are drinks which are famous anywhere you go. The Tom Collins is one of them. Whether in South America or Asia, in a big city or a beach bar, this cocktail is a must on every bartender’s list.

The main ingredient to a Tom Collins is gin. It’s a tremendously refreshing drink and great to sip on hot, damp afternoons while watching the West Indies play England at cricket in Barbados. This is actually where I started drinking it.

According to history, the Tom Collins was first mixed by an American bartender named James Collins, somewhere in the state of New York in the late 1870s. As the story goes, he used Old Tom gin, a sweeter type than the London dry brand, to prepare the cocktail. He then named the drink using a mix of both his name and the gin’s.

The Tom Collins became so famous worldwide that there is even a cocktail glass named after it. It became so popular, that it has inspired a load of spin-off drinks such as:

  • John Collins (replace the gin with whiskey)
  • Joe Collins (replace the gin with scotch)
  • Ivan Collins (replace the gin with vodka)
  • Sloe gin Tom Collins

To me, it tastes like delicious lemonade, with no noticeable alcohol trace. This can be very dangerous, especially on a warm afternoon in a tropical country. In other words, be careful how many you drink if you intend to walk back to your hotel after 7 hours of cricket.

Needed:

  • 45ml Old Tom gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of super fine sugar
  • 60ml club soda
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 slice of orange

How to prepare it:
1. In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well.
2. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes.
3. Add the club soda.
4. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.

Time: between 2 and 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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10Apr 12

Sangría

SangriaMost people know that the wonderful climate in Spain is an essential element in the creation of some stunning Spanish wines, as well as other beverages.

When I was about 19 years old, I travelled to Spain with a couple of friends, and at that age, we just wanted to enjoy the Spanish “fiesta” during its best season: summer. We travelled through various cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia and Granada, and all of them had one absolutely refreshing drink in common: Sangria. Although mostly associated with summer, it can be found throughout the year, especially in the warmer Southern parts of Spain. (For another dark  fruit drink, try this dragon-blood punch.)

Sangría comes from the Spanish word ‘sangre`, which means blood. The drink’s colour is dark red, thus the name. The strength and taste can vary depending on the spirit and quantity used.

Sangria is a kind of red wine punch that is thought to have been created during the 15th century in Spain and then spread to Portugal. However some people believe that it was actually invented in the Antilles in the Caribbean, which at the time was a British Colony. Although it is true that the drink is quite common in that part of the world, it is most likely that sangria came from Spain.

The beauty of the basic Sangria recipe is that it is as delicious as it is flexible. I like to vary the fruits I use, or even garnish it with strawberries, which are not in the actual recipe. This drink only gets better as you add your favourite fruits and spices!

Needed:

  • 1 litre of red wine
  • 3 peaches
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ glass of lemon juice
  • 50g of sugar
  • 1 glass of fresh orange juice
  • 1 spiral of lemon peel

 

How it’s made:

1. Peel the peaches, slice in half and then remove the core. Cut into fine slices.

2. Peel the oranges and slice thinly. Do the same with the lemon.

3. Place the fruit slices in a container with the sugar and brandy. Allow this mixture to marinate for up to 3 hours.

4. Put the mixture into a large pitcher. Then add the red wine, orange and lemon juice.

5. Add the lemon peel spiral to the pitcher and leave cooling in the refrigerator.

6.  Serve the drink very cold with ice.

Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pitcher of sangria

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23Mar 12

Mint Julep

Mint JulepA couple of years ago, I was stranded at a Kentucky airport for 12 hours. I was on my way from Miami to New York, and a storm forced our plane to land in rather a hurry. I was left feeling a little uneasy when I got off and decided to visit the nearest bar for a drink. The bartender recommended a typical Southern cocktail to stabilize my emotions: the Mint Julep. It is probably one of the simplest drinks I have ever tried, and also one of the best.

A mint julep is made with four ingredients: mint leaf, bourbon, syrup or sugar, and water. Traditionally spearmint is the mint of choice used in Southern states, Kentucky in particular. Apparently the secret to a good mint julep is to use loads of spearmint. The flavour is so good that it makes me think that I should also try it in my mojitos.

The origins of the Mint Julep are somewhat of a mystery. The first time its name appeared in writing was in 1803, in a book published by John Davis in London. It was described as “”a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” It is suggested it was first concocted in Kentucky. Henry Clay, State Senator, then took the recipe to the Round Robin Bar in the famous Willard Hotel in Washington while he was in office. These days, it is the official drink at the world famous Kentucky Derby track.

The most important ingredient in a mint julep is bourbon. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County. It has been produced since the 18th century.

I have never actually been in Kentucky, except for its airport. I don’t know if I will ever return, but my couple of hours there were enough to give me a good memory of the place and a great cocktail to share with you.

Ingredients:
• leaves from 4-5 spearmint sprigs
• 2 sugar cubes or 1.5 cl simple syrup
• 7.5 cl bourbon
• mint sprig for garnish

Preparation:
1. Put the spearmint and simple syrup or sugar into a julep cup, Collin’s glass or double old-fashioned glass.
2. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma from the mint.
3. Add the bourbon.
4. Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.
5. Garnish with the mint sprig.

Time: 4 minutes
Serves: 1 cocktail

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