Monday, March 24, 2014

MxMo LXXXIII - Preserves - In Which Savoriness Is Proven To Be Additive

Another Mixology Monday has rolled around. Margarett has previously suggested that my Mixology Monday posts are among the weakest I've cobbled together, by which she means the least glowing gems in a vast treasury of splendors. While this might seem unduly harsh,  I recently told Margarett that the cabbage soup she prepared for dinner (after working a 9-hour day, most of which I'd spent idling in the bathtub) was unfit for P.O.W.s and that I was prepared to sue if it ever blighted our dinner table again. I feel Honesty is critical to relationships and also to not getting fed cabbage soup that you hate.

Anyways, after my homage to the world's greatest Taiwanese Distilled Cooking Spirit was 'mistakenly' left out of the roundup for Highballs (possibly due to my inflammatory opinions on Southerners) I sulkily absented from February's theme of Sours (i.e. was busy working 50 hours a week making alcohol). This month's theme of 'Preserves' hosted at 'A World of Drinks' was more difficult to resist, as through a masterful feat of prescience I began preparing for this theme 2 years ago.

The basis of this drink is a batch of Marmalade Sherry, the creation of which was a peerless example lemons-to-lemonade, of American Ingenuity snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. By coupling a sale on Seville oranges with a dubious recipe from the internet, Margarett and I produced a extra large batch of marmalade which never set. Instead of a firm jelly, we had a chunky puddle. The flavor was quite nice, but the consistency was such that it left your toast looking like a poltergeist had ectoplasmically copulated with it. We were left in, what might vulgarly be called 'a pickle'. Enter - A Genius. With a brix refractometer I diluted the marmalade with water and using White Labs Sherry Yeast let it ferment for 1.5 years to produce a wine of ~15% abv with a bit of residual sugar. I then used a tasty brandy to kill off the flor (the white coating which protects fino type sherries from oxidation) and fortify the wine to 19%. The taste is similar to Vin d'Orange (an excellent and informative recipe for which can be had here) but with the nutty character of sherry and a fair bit less sweetness.

For a while I've been enjoying it in a highball with House Spirits Gamle Aquavit, a star anise & caraway flavored spirit aged in used wine barrels. Anise & Orange is always an acceptable pairing to me, and the slightly bitter savory character of the marmalade sherry is a good match to the savoriness of the aquavit, like rye toast with jam. From there, I add Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur because it exists and if I dont use it it often seems like no one will. It adds a nice suggestion of apricot as well as some sweetness and moutfeel. The glass is empty because man as a creature is defined by his appetites, and also because my phone wasn't charged when I needed to take the picture. If your imagination should be insufficient to color in the void, perhaps vapidly staring through another episode of True Detective will help?

Soon To Be Featured At Bröder
3/4 oz Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur
1 oz House Spirits Krogstad Gamle Aquavit
1.5 oz Marmalade Sherry*

Shake together with ice. If you don't have marmalade sherry because you don't live with me, you can attempt a blend of Amontillado sherry, white wine, and an orange liqueur. Roughly 1/4 oz sherry, 3/4 oz wine and 1/2 orange liqueur seemed somewhat close, but I didn't test extensively because I still have a gallon of marmalade sherry. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In Which No One Appreciate My Struggles

My limited pool of acquaintances ( intense sense of guilt) hound me relentlessly about updating this blog, but I am finding them increasingly easy to ignore. I'm not sure they grasp the strain that it takes to communicate. "Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything to say to this world, unless forced to stammer out something by way of getting a living" For me, writing is like mining. When considered in its totality, mining takes precisely one eternity. While I'm tending the stills or mopping the floor, any number of brilliant ideas tromp around my brain, like ponderous dinosaurs. Eventually they die off as my mind repopulates with increasingly urgent and desperate thoughts about what I will have for dinner. As layer upon layer of daily silt (blog posts about 'normcore' fashion, trying to remember the difference between Crimea and Cimmeria, joint pain anxiety) accumulates atop these ideas, the intense heat and pressure of my intellect is slowly transforming them from mighty giants into compact nuggets of snarky 'content'. When the time is right, an expedition is mounted to the last known site of these ideas and the heavy digging begins. The coal is always black, the ground is always cold and hard. Once I've extracted what ever slim bucketful of ore I can, usually some form of refining (writing) is needed to transform the damp, polluted lignite ("Florentino is gross") into gleaming anthracite (The Internet Is Terrible And So Is Florentino). 

As you can see from that painfully contorted analogy, it can be a taxing process. When you factor in that there are ZERO returns on any effort invested, every post I make is actually a sparkling miracle of selflessness and near-Divine sacrifice.

In the vein of martyrdom, I am continuing to grapple with drinking the Florentino Liqueur. In an attempt to articulate the aroma of the spirit, I mixed some vanilla extract with cough syrup, anise seeds, and a mushed up banana. Right before Margarett was about to go to sleep I had her don a blindfold and smell the two ramekins I had prepared.

Mar - This one smells like that gross knock-off thing. This one smells like cough syrup with a banana mushed up in it and some anise seeds.

Perhaps a sign that we have been living together a bit too long. The mushed up banana with cough syrup went down alright after topping with a bit of soda water.

The problem with finding a Florentino cocktail, is that it is difficult to find a Galliano cocktail that I would entertain the thought of drinking. Most appear to be a random assemblage of of the sweetest liqueurs from an 80s Sorority party ( There are a handful of more modern Galliano cocktails, but they use the reformulated 'Galliano L’Autentico' rather than the ghastly sweet version that Florentino is modeled after. I'd hoped by the time I got to the end of this post, my frantic clawing of the internet would have yielded a suitable recipe, but alas. Below is a not very inventive reformulation of the weissbanger, with the addition of some lime juice to decrease the sweetness, gin to decrease the banality, and egg white to decrease the chance that you won't get salmonella. If you've noticed that just about every drink I make is some combination of gin, egg whites, and unpalatable liqueur, perhaps you've also noticed that this photo is lit by the rising sun, a phenomena which occurs roughly between 7 and 9 am...

gin florentino the galliano knock off beer orange juice
Redundancy As The Foundation Of Tradition
1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
1.5 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Florentino Liqueur
1/3 oz Lime Juice
1 Egg White
3 oz dry wheat beer

Mix together all ingredients except beer and dry shake. Add ice, shake, strain into glass with 3 oz beer. Relish your morning and the temporary assuagement of your guilt about not updating your blog enough.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

In Which The Scheme, Having Yielded Dubious Profits, Is Revealed

As you might have derived from the title, this blog was founded with the idea of each post reviewing one of the many strange and relatively undocumented spirits the adventurous might encounter.  I hoped to parlay these reviews into internet notoriety, which could then be leveraged to extract free liquor from the many desperate PR reps and Brand Ambassadors of the liquor world. These free samples would fuel more deranged reviews, and voila! we have what my Big 10 college degree in business called a ‘Virtuous Circle’.

If you have been following along for a while, you are undoubtedly aware that I somehow lost sight of my grand stratagem and have primarily busied myself posting cocktail recipes that no one would possibly ever make because they either sound bad or contain ingredients that exist solely in my refrigerator.

All of this occurred to me because I recently reviewed the Search Keywords which have brought you meager handful of wretched souls here. Margarett has several times declared my blog to be ‘advanced’ by which she codedly but hurtfully means useless to everyone. WRONG.

Searchers I’ve Helped

‘Torani Amer Review’ – I crushed this one. It was like I wrote the exact thing you were searching for. I hope you really enjoyed it. If you did, you should write Torani and tell them to blast some product my way. This was from back in the salad days of my blogging career, when I had a purpose and vigor and was also only working like 20 hours a week and had plenty of time to make amusing charts.

‘Maraska Wishniak cherry liqueur blog’ – I have to imagine you were overjoyed at finding my post. An excellent cocktail recipe, a rib-tickling anecdote about how much I really dislike everyone, and a useful comparison description of a product you’ve never heard of! In doing a recent similar search the only other close to helpful link was on, a spirits consultancy, which prompted a revelation.  Dear Lady From Drink Think I met one time, I now realize that when you said you hated Fernet Branca and much preferred the markedly obscure Croatian wormwood digestive Pelinkovac made by Maraska it was exactly because you are their Oregon distributor. I love Pelinkovac too and will say nice things about it, if only I had some samples to utilize in innovative cocktails. If not, I am happy to post my upcoming companion piece about how Maraska stole Luxardo’s Zara distillery after communist partisans murderously forced the Italian population into exile.  

Searchers I Didn’t Help

‘handsome geniuses’ – I wrote a clickbait title and you clicked it. “Though man loved his fellow, yet man is a money-making animal, which propensity too often interferes with his benevolence”.

‘poison pear liqueur’ – Would that I could have helped you, but alas I believe you were actually searching for how to make something out of this. But I salute you for expanding my own pool of trivia, for in trying to determine what the hell you were actually looking for, I learned that this tree is “is known for its distinctive smell which is similar to a cross between rotting fish and semen.”

Well, to close this distasteful session of SEO analytics, a distateful cocktail. This is the otherwise tasty Harvey Weissbanger created by Jacob Grier, but given a Reasonable Poisons twist where I used a mysterious, abominable, bottom-shelf Galliano knock-off called Florentino, straight from the homeland of fine herbal liqueurs Cleveland Ohio. The below is actually the ONLY image of Florentino that I think you can find on the internet, so consider yourself privileged in a modest fashion. 

Florention Liqueur with orange juice and beer harvey weissbanger wallbanger variant
The Sunshine, The Beauty, The Romance, The Glamour

2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 oz Florentino Liqueur
6 oz Wheat Beer (I used a very dry wheat saison)

Mix orange juice and florentino with ice, strain into chilled glass while simultaneously pouring in beer. Ruminate on whether you should be more concerned about diabetes or Yellow #5.