Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Queen Park Swizzle

I came upon a really lovely recipe for a Queen Park Swizzle this evening. The ingredients included lime and mint—great flavors for a summer’s night. Even more enticing: the blogger said he first tried this drink at Milk and Honey, of NYC and London fame!

So I tried it out. Here’s the recipe, via

- 2oz aged white rum

- 1/2 of a lime

- 1/2oz simple syrup

- 2-3 sprigs of mint
- A few dashes of Angostura bitters

- Club soda

- Plenty of crushed ice

The technique for this cocktail is a little different than anything we’ve used in the past. There’s no shaking involved, so we’re going to build the entire cocktail right in the glass. Start by squeezing half a lime into the glass. (Some people will choose to drop the shell of the lime in once you’ve squeezed it – your choice.)

Next add the simple syrup, and the leaves of 2-3 sprigs of mint. Finally, add the rum, and fill the glass with crushed ice. The use of crushed ice here versus cubes is important – you want the ice to really mix with the ingredients. Once you’ve added the crushed ice, use a swizzle stick to – yes – swizzle the cocktail. That is, use the swizzle stick to agitate the ingredients along with the ice, which will not only help mix everything, but also chill it (you’ll notice a nice frost form on the outside of the glass within 30-60 seconds.)

A few notable substitutions. I didn’t have any aged white rum laying around, so I used the white Bacardi I had instead. I also used some dark demerara sugar, not white sugar, since I thought it might work with the lime and rum.

Overall, the drink came out quite tasty! It’s light, bubbly, and a bit more spicy (due to the angostura) than similar drinks, such as the mojito and caipirinha.

I did have some initial issues with the layering—sipping from the top, I could only taste the soda water and angostura. So I had to give it a mix before everything came together (although this ruined the beautiful angostura float).

Making it again in the future, I’d like to peel back on the amount of lime. A proper highball glass would also capture the layered aesthetic better. But overall, yummy.

Before closing this entry, I’d like to speak to one aspect of my cocktail tonight. What, Bacardi white rum? Blasphemy, Noelle! Blasphemy! And to you, I say, I am unashamed of using such a common spirit. I don’t think we’ve ever addressed this explicitly in our blog, but Josh and I like to think of our cocktails as the drink for the common man or woman. Our goal is to make well-balanced cocktails that don’t need hoity-toity spirits you’ll have to smuggle in from the Netherlands. We love the craft and the taste and damn right we’ll be tasting the more exotic spirits at the bar—we raise our glasses to you, fancy ingredients and ingenious bartenders! But you won’t find that stuff in our kitchen. Our mission is to make classic cocktails affordably.

By the way, Spirited Cocktails is a delightful blog that seems to focus on serious, classic cocktails. The author, Joshua Hoffman, writes out of New York, which seems to give him some extra cred. ;-) I took the extra step and added the blog to, so you can also look for it there. I look forward to trying out many more drinks from this blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Briar Patch and Lady Clover

There is really no adequate introduction for drinks by master mixologist Toby Maloney. His cocktails have never failed us, whether at his thoroughly delightful bar in Chicago, The Violet Hour, or using his recipes at home.

And, most amazing, Mr. Maloney is a generous man who freely shares his knowledge and recipes online, all in the name of celebrating the craft. I was perusing the thread today and became excited by his instructions on making your own blackberry cordial, especially since it’s berry season. So after work, Josh and I headed to the market around the corner and bought two beautiful boxes of blackberries.

Mr. Maloney’s instructions were as follows:

Take 2 pints of blackberries, and 2 cups of simple, muddle the bejesus out of the berries, and add simple. Stir. Wait a while, stir. Repeat. Repeat until the liquid is very dark. Strain through a chinois. I like to add a dash or two of Angostura. If you think that it will be hanging around for awhile, add a splash of gin.

The instructions were straight-forward enough, and we seemed to survive the making process. But what to mix with it?

So tonight we tried two new recipes by Mr. Maloney, which use blackberry syrup: The Briar Patch and Lady Clover (both featured at one time at TVH).

Here are his instructions (we didn’t have any Plymouth, so we used what we had on hand—Tanqueray).

Lady Clover

2 oz Plymouth

.75 oz House Blackberry Syrup

.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Egg White

7 drops Peychaud’s Bitters

Top: Soda Water

Glass: Collins

Garnish: 5 drops Angostura Bitters

Ice: 3 KD cubes

Combine all, mime shake. Add ice, shake, strain over fresh ice, top with soda, garnish.

Briar Patch

1.5 oz Plymouth Gin

¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice

½ oz Simple Syrup

¼ oz Home made Blackberry Cordial

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Blackberry and Knotted Pigtail Lemon Twist

Ice: Crushed

Build in shaker. Shake hard 3 times with Kold Draft Ice. Strain into Collins Glass filled with Crushed Ice. The crushed ice will recede. Top with more crushed ice then lace with blackberry cordial.To make the Cordial take one pint of blackberries and muddle in a non reactive container.

Grand success!!! The Lady Clover was especially delicious. The egg white lent a special lightness to the cocktail. It’s smooth, but layered. Lots to entertain your tongue. The Briar Patch was also tasty, but I think our lemon is a bit tart, so it came out slightly sour. Since we made that one first we were able to adjust for the Lady Clover.

Hope you can enjoy these recipes as much as we did!