Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cranberry-Ginger Shrub

I've been trying to come up with my beverage selections for this years Thanksgiving celebration. I like to have a few different cocktails available intially, move into wine with dinner, and then finish off with a nice vintage port. This year, the wine selection was easy, since its all family this year I'm going to break out my favorite wine, Green Truck Cellars Pinot Noir. I haven't decided whether to serve the 04 or 05, the 04 is a little more austere, while the 05 is a luscious fruit bomb. I'll make that decision when I finalize the menu. As for port, I'm sitting on several bottles of the 80 vintage, which should be showing nicely at this point.
That brings me to cocktails. I love rum drinks at Thanksgiving, as the early settlers of our fine country wouldn't have been slugging bourbon at the earliest Thanksgivings. I'm thinking a Dark and Stormy, while not classically American, makes for an interesting drink, especially if made with my own recipe for ginger beer. In addition, this year I've decided to recreate a Colonial era drink called a shrub. Shrub (from the arabice, shrab, meaning drink) are cocktails made with fruit in a vinegar base. I know, you don't really see drinks with a vinegar base in current times, but when you start breaking cocktails down, vinegar is just essentially an acid, the same thing that we use lemon juice or lime juice for in modern times. I['d read about shrubs for some time, most recently in Eric Felten's new book, and decided to try my hand at making a shrub appropriate for both a modern Thanksgiving and Colonial times. I settled on cranberry ginger, two flavors appropriate for both venues.

Here is the cocktail- Cranberry-Ginger Shrub
2 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
1 oz Cranberry Ginger Shrub
Reeds Ginger Ale to fill

Build over ice in a rocks glass, stir to incorporate and serve

Cranberry-Ginger Syrup

2 pints Cranberries
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, sliced thin
1 c water
1 c sugar
2 c white wine vinegar

1) Bring sugar and water to a boil in a med saucepan, reduce heat slightly, add cranberries and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
2) addd vinegar, return to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and strain through a chinois into a container.
Keep shrub syrup refrigerated until use.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Amaro Serafino Recipe Pt 2

2 bottles of red wine
8 dried apricots
4 sticks cinnamon
8 black peppercorns, crushed
8 cloves crushed
1/2 c brandy

Add all ingredients except brandy in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool and add brandy. Cover and let ingredients marry for 3 days. After 3 days, combine liquid with other amaro base, stir to combine and bottle.

Yields approximately 5 750 mL bottles.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ironically enough

Tonight is the finals of the Vitaminwater Energy Drink Cocktail contest. I didn't make it, but my good friend David Shenault from the TearDrop (and Meriwethers) did. He's up against bartenders from Bartini (huh?), Mint/820 (yawn), and Rontoms (all I can say is wow). If skill, imagination and hard work have anything to do with it, David should be $2007 richer by the end of the evening.

The ironic thing is that I just read a news article headlined, "Mixing Vodka and Red Bull can be Deadly Experts Say". To quote this expert, "its like mixing cocaine with heroin". Yeah right.

Who knew? Good luck tonight David and try not to kill anyone with your energy drink concoction.

If you want to check the competition out, its tonight at 8pm at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison here in Portland.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cocktail Du Jour

So its happy hour in the Mayhew household, and apparently my day has been a little longer than usual. Anyway, I attempted to make one of my preferred libations, but I wasn't paying attention and ended up with something else instead. I felt like that old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ad, "You spilled your peanut butter in my chocolate!/ You spilled your chocolate in my peanut butter!". Sometimes, it takes a random event (or a complete lack of attention) to find out that some flavors work together. You might call it kismet..

The Kismet Cocktail
2 oz Aperol
1 oz John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
1 oz Aviation Gin

Build over the rocks in a double rocks glass.