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To close out the Cocktail Advent Calendar we have the very impressive but a bit slacker Blue Blazer. To read too much about the Blue Blazer, check this old post. But let’s be honest, a Blue Blazer is really just the fanciest and most dangerous way possible to make a Hot Toddy. One of my recent tricks to improve this drink is that after I really get the fire going, I add in the sugar to get it a bit caramelized. But remember, this drink doesn’t have to be so hard to make if you can do a little simple math. The secret words are, “flash point.”
A lot of bartenders will tell you that spirits are flammable when they are 100 proof or 50% alcohol, while this it true, it is also the Newtonian physics explanation of things- this is true at room temperature and at sea level. But heated alcohol doesn’t require such a high proof to reach a flashpoint, any cook will tell you that 80proof cooking brandy explodes like napalm when heated. For Blue Blazer nubes, heating the booze first is a big help.
- fill two mugs with hot water let mugs warm up
- pour 2oz Bookers Bourbon (easily flammable, cheap and great) into a jigger
- pour 2 oz hot water and .5 oz agave nectar into another jigger
- discard water in mugs pour each jigger’s contents into a separate mug
- ignite bourbon mug, pour the flame back and forth 4 or 5 times
- if skill allows, now pour .5 oz simple syrup and 1 oz water into the mugs
- pour the flame back and forth 4 or 5 times
- pour into an toddy glass
- extinguish the mugs by placing them atop each other
- garnish with the twist of lemon
The last sad song is coming from the O’Jays who want to remind you that we still have another crumby holiday to get through, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” I’ll make some suggestions in my next post.
This is by far the most difficult drink in the Cocktail Advent Calendar. We did not make it authentically, but we did make it for service, and that is much harder. It is the winning recipe from 2006 at the Cocktail World Cup and is a twist on the classic cocktail: the posset. The recipe seems simple enough except that it is very hard to hold the posset in warm form form service. It is even harder to wield a red hot poker behind the bar, but we’ll get to that too. Anyone can give you the recipe, but here is how we did it:
in a crock pot keep mix
- 3 oz 42 Below Manuka Honey Vodka
- 3 oz dark ale -use a sweet one or add sugar
- 1 oz rum
- .5 oz honey
- .25 ox Benedictine
- 2 dash Angostura
separately and hold at a safe chilled temp mix
- 2 whole eggs
- 3 oz cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
Combine 3 oz warm mix to 2 oz cold mix in a toddy glass
Dip a hot poker is each mug
For our poker, we used an iron meat flipper kept hot by leaving it in a panini press. Finally got some use out of that thing. The sizzle from the poker does add an earthy smokey flavor to the drink, the hot poker was the microwave of it’s day.
For an old style cocktail I have an old style song, “Silent Night,” by Stanley Jordan. I couldn’t find it online, I got mine off a old Blue Note Jazz compilation.
How is the Porto Flip different from the Coffee cocktail? Trust. The Porto Flip for toady’s Cocktail Advent Calendar has a simple lesson; trust your friends. A quick look through the internet would show you that the Porto Flip is the same as the Coffee Cocktail, this is what I always learned. But something I’ve noticed that happens quite often in translating drinks is that unknown and expensive ingredients are lost. Cocktaildb.com provides this recipe for a Porto Flip and I think we’d all agree that is much better than the half assed way we were all likely taught.
- 1oz Port
- 1 egg
- .25 oz benedictine
- .25 oz simple syrup
- .25 oz yellow chartreuse
I first learned about the Betsy Ross cocktail for today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar from a Crosby Gaige book. I know of another variation for this cocktail that turns it into a flip. It is easy to see why a drink that has an egg in it or a drink that is syrupy sweet is not going to be a very popular cocktail. However, this time of year, in the holiday season, it’s a fairly ideal drink – egg or not. I would try it both ways. If there’s no egg in your Betsy Ross cocktail I think it works very well at room temperature or over ice. The ice will continue to send the drink out a little bit which works fine for this. And at room temperature your basically just creating your own liqueur. At room temperature this drink is one of the few times a snifter would be acceptable.
- 1 oz port
- 1 oz cognac
- .25 oz orange curacao
- 1 dash angostura
- if you add an egg yolk, add a dash of simple syrup
Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” can’t really be legitimately tied to the Betsy Ross cocktail in anyway. The only distant way in which I can tie them together would be that people leaving town to see family for Christmas are gone by now. If you are still in town you should look to your left and look to your right because that’s who you’re spending Christmas with. But I’m running out of days and I’m running out of sad songs so couple of them are just going to have to be thrown together.
The Irish coffee will be treated differently than the other drinks on the Cocktail Advent Calendar. Almost every other cocktail that we’ve worked with this month we’ve dressed up. We’ve taken a classic not very good cocktail, substituted good ingredients, added a bit of care, and voilà – a much better cocktail. This is not the case for the Irish coffee, this classic will be made exactly the way it’s supposed to be made, because it’s a perfect cocktail.
The original Irish coffee had no Bailey’s, it had no brown sugar, and it had no whipped cream topped with green crème de menthe. The best way to enjoy this cocktail is perfectly as it is written on paper. The only thing to keep in mind that is not written on the original recipe is that when you’re making coffee cocktails it very much helps to make the coffee extra strong and pre-heating the vessel that the cocktail will be poured into is essential. Last month I was in San Francisco at the Gold Dust in Union Square. The legendary $3.50 Irish coffees are served there. People have told me throughout the years that they just want to go there and drink them all day. I never understood why until I had one at 10 in the morning. Being in a dark bar when it’s bright outside, where people are selling rude stories and nude cherubic women are painted on the ceiling is the perfect place to enjoy an Irish coffee.
- 1.5 ounces Irish whiskey
- 4 ounces very strong black coffee
- 2 ounces lightly sweetened whipped cream
There’s a certain type of “drunk in a bar when you’re not supposed to be” aspect to the Irish coffee that I think lends itself to listening to the rat pack. Auld lang syne, by Frank Sinatra I think is the perfect listening choice for drinking an old-style cocktail made just right.
Hope you wait til the end for the good joke
If you look up the “Harvest Moon” cocktail you’ll see about 40 to 70 different recipes for it. You’ll find that this is often the case for any cocktail that might be named after a song from the 70′s. Try looking up various Fleetwood Mac titled cocktails and find that every single song on “Rumors” has a cocktail, or eight, named for each track. Despite this overwhelming love for making harvest moon themed cocktails. ours is a quite simple showcase of harvest flavors unlike the rest of the pack. It will showcase applejack, bonded applejack and, of course, orgeat lime juice and Angostura bitters. This is the same formula as a classic Tiki recipe called the Barbancourt rum cup. And it works so well I basically would call for the “spirit, orgeat, lime juice and a dash of Angostura” to be a cocktail template. I have already used this in a template for one of my “originals” called a “Signal to Noise.” I hope today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar recipe has given you a new drink family, might as well call it the “Harvest Moon” drink family.
- 1.5 oz applejack
- .5 oz orgeat
- .25 oz lime juice
- 1 dash Angostura
It could, quite possibly, be one of the worst day’s of the year today. Simply because it is the Monday before Christmas, and everyone will be building up to the *big day* by yelling at each other and generally being snot faces, and there’s no legitimate way to take Friday off of work. It’s going to be a long shitty week. Today’s sad song to go with that is, “I’d like you for Christmas” by Julie London. It’s not a particularly sad song but it is a song that’s incredibly slow and longing and goes on a while – like this day probably will – but fear not! Hopefully you get a three day weekend coming up soon.
Hot Espresso Buttered Rum. That is what today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar holds in store for you. You can buy hot buttered rum batter in the grocery store that’s not very special. We could make you a better version of that better and will be kind of special. But today Anu is whipping up espresso & vanilla bean buttered syrup with date puree to drizzle across your hot buttered rum. This actual recipe may be a proprietary secrets so we’ll have to wait to put out the actual ingredients but I’ve had said, “drizzle,” and it is amazing. It’s the kind of life-changing experience that makes you wonder why Starbucks doesn’t just have vanilla butter as a flavor. It’s so good it makes you wonder if, “drinking butter,” is going to be a new trends like drinking chocolate. It’s the kind of game changer that should make you want to own your own dairy cow.
Hot buttered rum mix TBA.
It’s actually even so good I can’t even really pair it with a sad Christmas song. which is why today is more of a sultry slow Christmas song. Baby it’s cold outside by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, perhaps the one sad thing about this song is a woman’s concern that she might be labeled a strumpet where she should just stay inside with someone Sheidaig’s and have a warm Christmas beverage. What kind of terrible world could’ve written this song where snuggling with something to be feared. Oh how far we’ve come.
Be desire-less and expect austerity.
Once a year a crazy Southeast Asian citron comes on the market called a Buddha’s Hand. This fruit’s history is quite impressive as it seems to have traveled most of the known world before written history began. I bought what was basically a Buddha’s “grizzly bear paw,” a few weeks back, it was easily the largest one I’ve ever had. We infused it for 1 week at Rob Roy in 1 part gin to 1 part rum. And that is today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar, Buddha’s hand, dealers choice.
There is a great lesson in this fruit for bartenders. Buddha’s hand is candied, steamed and fried is Asian culture but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t taste like much of anything. Why infuse it? because it smells great. Buddha’s hand is mostly used as an air freshener. Because is smells good, we infuse it with 80 proof spirit to let the scent continue in cocktails. If we made a syrup out of it we would have what is basically lightly citric yellow syrup that is very expensive. To keep it short: infuse scents into spirits, cook flavors into syrups, and figure out when you want those two to overlap into a liqueur.
A weird sad song to go with this nontraditional winter drink is, “Did I Make You Cry on Christmas?” by Sufjan Stevens. Kind of a song about I guy who just can’t get this season right, like when you call infusing crazy citrus a Christmas cocktail.
By the way, today is not some bullshit 1990′s infused vodka slacker day. All of those fads are still aplicable when used correctly. You are going to be clowning on making your own bitters like they were bellbottoms soon enough.
A drunk kid at the university of college one day said, “art is what separates us from animals.” That is fine and dandy if you live in a dorm and have a pony tale. But I was in a coffee shop a couple months ago and heard a grown man say it. I barfed on him to complete his college experience.
I have also heard a very smart man say, “seasonal beverage is what separates us from animals,” I thought about this as a profound statement and he continued,“ I’m going to drink a quart of eggnog tomorrow and watch that Raiders game.”
Perhaps what separates us from animals is planning our Sundays.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
- 2 oz allspice dram (going to help you sell it out this month Eric)
Yes, today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar is Eggnog. Everybody’s mom can make eggnog but if I call it a pre-cocktail tradition egg libation, I sound like the smart one. Look, I know you want an eggnog, you fucking need one. And ours is homemade with fresh spices and expertly crafted. I know you can pour a shot of bourbon into your Starbucks latte*, but I think we have that beat
For the eggnog, a pre-cocktail known the whole world over (check out the Japanese Tamagozake) I have a sad X-mas song about WW1. I think everyone knows, “Christmas in the Trenches,” by John McCutcheon. If you don’t then listen on, but a lot of people don’t know it’s based on the real life impromptu Christmas day cease fires in 1914. These were unofficial and not allowed again but basically the troops on both sides went into no man’s land to drink, smoke and sing. Seems like both sides were more naturally inclined to pub life than war. There is a lesson there.
*Makes Xmas shopping easier.
Today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar is the dumbest name for a cocktail ever: The Coffee Cocktail. The Coffee cocktail has no coffee., nor is it a cocktail (a cocktail being spirit, water, sugar, bitters, and stirred). This is a Jerry Thomas era moustashe-tasctic recipe that is a great goodnight cocktail. What is the difference between a Coffee Cocktail and a Porto Flip? If you ask the internet you’ll get a list that says they are pretty much the same cocktail, but upon consulting one of the few places on the internet where I actually like getting recipes: cocktaildb.com I see that Ted say, “no brandy in a porto flip.” I’d generally side with him on matters such because he can do that um, citing precedent thing. Anyone else? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The Coffee Cocktail
- 1 oz Cognac
- 1 oz Port
- .25 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 whole egg
grate a little nutmeg on top
This is a bit of a lazy Xmas (so much so that I can’t spell out Christmas) cocktail that I envision as the height of exotica in old wood paneled dive bars. I think there is a certain type of awareness I have about that as I remember this drink as one of the first egg cocktails I made when everything was new to me. I disagree with what most would say about using mediocre port in this cocktail, it is by no means a time to crack a fine one, but a $10 fifth from the grocer & cooking brandy make this drink that good. A nice ruby port with a heavy VS cognac make the Coffee Cocktail much better. OF course if you are in that dive bar, you’d get in trouble for having an egg in cognac. Another sad song with a hopeful feeling of, “things might get better,” is the Tom Waits song, “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.”