maandag 20 januari 2020

Blue Monday 2020

 
Today is not only my wife’s birthday, it’s also ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. Just to be clear, both occasions are not linked ­čśë

If you need a boost later today, you might try this slightly updated version of the Blue Monday cocktail.

Blue Monday

Ingredients
4,5 cl Belroy’s Vodka
1,5 cl Dry Cura├žao
1 barspoon Blue Cura├žao

Method
Stir together in a large glass with lots of ice. This is a pretty strong cocktail, so it won’t hurt to get a bit of dilution. Strain in a Martini glass and add a twist of orange.

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

zaterdag 18 januari 2020

High proof Rum : Ron Col├│n Salvadore├▒o

 
The most fun part of being a drinksblogger ? These things happen once in a while : I received a big box, unannounced, no sender on the box, two bottles and some fancy bartools inside. Intrigued.

Two bottles of rum from El Salvador : Ron Col├│n Salvadore├▒o
. Much higher proof than average (111 Proof – 55,5°). On the website it says that this brand is born from the idea that all you really need in life is some simple things: true friends, good coffee and a perfect high proof rum.

RCS seems to be a collaboration between several people from the bar industry :
Thurman Wise @ThurmanWise / Pepijn Janssens AKA @HighProofHeadShot / Felicity Gransden AKA @Fliss_On_Tour / Chris Rehberger and his Berlin based team at @DoubleStandardsAgency / Andres Trigueros and his family at @JagsHeadsCoffee / Tobias Jegenstam from @BartendersBible and 46social


High proof rum was originally invented to make it easier to transport the barrels or rum on a boat. By diluting the rum on arrival they could transport much more rum in each shipment. But of course bartenders started playing with it and noticed that the higher proof is an extra tool to balance your cocktail. This much stronger base softens the punch from citrus and sugar. It also holds its base much better against really strong flavours such as coffee.

 
Which brings us back to these two bottles, because one of the bottles is a coffee infused rum. Now I’m even more intrigued. This one will definitely be tested first. This rum certainly packs a punch. The higher proof does it’s thing. The coffee-aroma is also intense, but only shows up in the aftertaste. Beautiful spirit. Each sip takes you on a journey through rum and chocolate… and ends which coffee.

 
I would never think of using coffee or a coffee liqueur in a Daiquiri.
But how about this coffee infused rum ? It works and it inspires for more experiments !


RCS Coffee Daiquiri

Ingredients
5 cl RCS coffee infused rum
3 cl Fresh limejuice
1,5 cl Sugarsyrup


Method
Shake with ice, strain in a tumbler with a big block of clear ice. Add a dried orangewheel.



So, what would happen if we lift up the coffee taste with some coffee liqueur ? Wow, that was a pretty good outcome, but of course you do need to love coffee for this one !


The recipe might seem a bit sweet, but the high proof rum takes care of that. Very nice drink, I’ll make this one again for sure.


R&C Negroni

Ingredients
2,5 cl RCS Coffee infused rum
2,5 cl Conker Cold Brew liqueur
2,5 cl Amaro Montenegro
2,5 cl Sweet vermouth


Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a dried orangewheel.



The second bottle was the high proof rum. I think we can soften the punch by creating a variation on Velvet old Fashioned with it, and make it a bit more interesting by adding some amaro.

Tipsy Velvet

Ingredients
5 cl RSC High proof rum
2 cl Amaro di Angostura
1,5 cl Gonzalez Byass Nectar (PX Sherry)
2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters


Method
Stir together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain in a tumbler with a big block of ice. Add a cocktail cherry.


Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

vrijdag 10 januari 2020

Caipirinha de Jerez

 
I received a bottle of Pit├║ cacha├ža, which is what you could call an “industrial” cacha├ža, produced in large quantities, to be sold in supermarkets worldwide. You can’t really compare it with the premium cacha├ža brands we tested earlier on this blog, just like you can’t compare Johnnie Walker Red Label with a Dalmore King Alexander III.

So I started thinking about a cocktail in which I could use this cacha├ža with the best possible result. After all, the mission of this blog is to enable you to make each cocktail at home with easy to find ingredients.

Two years ago I was in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) for Sherry Master 2018. On my first evening in the hotel, I went to the pool bar and ordered a Caipirinha. To my surprise it wasn’t the classic recipe with cacha├ža, sugar and lime. Instead they used a mix of cacha├ža and rum, which was absolutely delicious.

This version of the Caipirinha can be placed in between the classic Caipirinha and the Daiquiri, a combination of the more vegetal cacha├ža flavours with the chocolate sweetness of the rum.

This inspired me for this quick and easy version.

Caipirinha de Jerez


Ingredients
3 cl Pit├║ Cacha├ža
3 cl Infamous Rum
3 cl lime juice
1,5 cl sugar syrup


Method
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously during 15 seconds. Strain in a tumbler or the typical Mojito-glass. Add two quarters of a lime and ice. I’m not a big fan of crushed ice, so I selected a nice bar of clear ice.


As said, this was the quick and easy version, which also looks good on photo. The classic way is to cut a lime in 8 parts, add to the glass, add cane sugar, muddle, add crushed ice, add rum and Cacha├ža. More or less the way you would make a Mojito, but it does look a bit messy on photo ­čśë. 


Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

woensdag 8 januari 2020

Bulleit BLT

 
Some combinations are very simple but nevertheless tasty. In the old days people often drank ‘Scotch and soda’, buy today people are used to a bit more flavour, so there might be a new trend starting.

The BLT sandwich with bacon, lettuce and tomato is already world famous, the BLT drink could do the same. It’s a very refreshing longdrink all year long, but can also be served as a stylish adult drink.

BLT stands for Bourbon, lemon and tonic.

Bulleit BLT

Ingredients
4,5 cl Bulleit Bourbon
Wedge of fresh lemon
12 cl Tonic for a longdrink, much less if you choose a tumbler.

Method
Fill an Old Fashioned or Collins glass with ice. I prefer a tumbler with a big block of clear ice, but feel free to use a highball with ice cubes if you want.
Add the bourbon, top up with tonic. Give it just ONE gentle stir. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lemon. Don’t use a dried slice, you need the fresh lemon to add to this cocktail.

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

vrijdag 3 januari 2020

Mise-en-place : Making clear ice at home


As you may have noticed in my photos, during the last year I have started to make my own clear ice. There are a couple of very good reasons why you should try it :
  • Clear ice is much sexier on photo and it will absolutely impress your guests.
  • Clear ice doesn’t change the color of your cocktail. Even more, it will be almost invisible in your cocktail. 
  • Clear ice melts much slower, because there are no air bubbles inside. 
  • Clear ice won’t attract strange smells from other stuff in your freezer.
  • Clear ice won’t make your soda foam like crazy.
First, why isn’t all ice clear?
When water freezes from all directions towards the middle of the ice cube, all tiny air-bubbles and impurities are pushed to the middle where it gets locked in as a pretty much white substance. We are used to it and it won’t bother most people. It doesn’t even matter when you are using small cubes or pebbles. But when you serve a beautiful classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned or a Negroni, you really want a large cube of ice. Using a cube of clear ice will absolutely lift your cocktail to the next level.
 
You can buy clear ice in specialized wholesale stores, but is it hard to make your own clear ice at home ? Actually it isn’t, but it does take a little bit of practice.
 
Making your own clear ice by directional freezing
 
What do you need to make clear ice at home ?
  • A small insulated coolbox. Probably the smallest size you can find in your local camping store. Often blue with a white top. It has to be small enough to fit in your freezer. Most people have a very small maximum height in their freezer, so measure up before you go to the store. I bought my coolbox at AS Adventure. Probably the first time ever I went to a camping store voluntarily ­čśë
  • A breadknife
  • A rubber hammer. You can find them in the same camping store or in any DIY shop.
  • A large cutting board
The first thing you need to do is remove the lid of the coolbox. You won’t need it anymore. The next part is the hardest part. It will probably take a few badges before you’re 100% sure of the timing. Fill the box with tab water and put it in the freezer (without the lid!). Now let it freeze until it’s more or less 70% frozen. Yes, this is definitely the hardest part and it’s different with every freezer. The trick is to remove the ice before it’s completely frozen. This way the air and impurities won’t be frozen, but remain in the water which you can easily remove.
 
I asked my #drinkstagram-buddies and got totally different answers, with freezing times between 24 and 36 hours. Try freezing for 24 hours and have a look at the result. Adjust accordingly.
 
What happens ? Because you let the lid off and all other sides of the box are insulated, the freezing goes directional and starts at the (open) top, freezing downward to the bottom of the box. If you let it freeze too long, everything will be frozen to a solid block, freezing the impurities into an unclear part near the bottom.
 
Of course I also “forgot” my block a couple of times and let it freeze for several days. No worries, you’ll just have a harder time cutting off the “unclear piece” of the ice block. This will be more or less half of the block.
 
If you get it right, you take the box out of your freezer when it’s only frozen for ±70%. You put the box upside down on your cutting board and wait a few minutes until the big block of ice slides out of the box. Put the box to the side. The ice block is now upside down on your board.
 
You’ll notice that the bottom half is actually a large block of sexy clear ice. The top half still has a big air bubble in it, filled with water. With the knife you can easily cut off the top part, only keeping the solid bottom. This wasn’t my best batch ever, I have had blocks with a smaller air/water bubble. It’s normal that your remaining block is more or less half of the total block.
 
How do you cut such a big block of ice ? Make a first cut with your breadknife. When you can put the knife steady in the cut, give it a blow with the rubber hammer, it will splice the block. If you own a meat-axe, it will also get the job done and it can handle the blows from the hammer a bit better.
 
I always cut the block into cubes, pack them in freezer bags to keep them clean and store them in the freezer, inside my open coolbox. Whenever I want to make a cocktail, I get a cube from the box and cut it to the right shape to match the size of the glass.
 
 
For cutting the cube into the right size for the glass I use an old, but still sharp steak knife. Remember, I’m talking about HOME use. Bartenders use specialized tools like I already talked about in an earlier article. They use (expensive!) ice-saws in different sizes, ice tridents and several types of knives.

Impress your guests and try it out for yourself. It can be done pretty cheap and it’s really not that hard to do. You just need a bit of practice to get it right ­čśë

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

dinsdag 31 december 2019

Voorstelling Monkey47 Experimental Series Brussels

Een voorstelling van een uiterst gelimiteerde (500 flessen!) speciale botteling van een gin, die enkel en alleen te koop zijn door de winnaars van een lottrekking. Eerlijkheidshalve past dat misschien niet echt binnen de visie van deze blog. Maar als de stichter en bedenker van Monkey47 die unieke fles ook zelf komt voorstellen aan een publiek van pers en bloggers, in een donkere speakeasy-kelder in Antwerpen… dan zit er een mooi verhaal in en wil ik er mijn lunchpauze wel eens voor opofferen.

Enkele weken geleden werd ik op een dinsdagmiddag verwacht in cocktailbar Dogma, vlakbij de Grote Markt in Antwerpen. Hier werden we 100 jaar terug in de tijd gebracht en kregen we in een voor de gelegenheid geïmproviseerde viswinkel eerst wat info over het oude Antwerpen, waar mosselen een zeer belangrijke vorm van inkomsten waren. Na het degusteren van een kraakverse oester daalden we de trappen af naar de verborgen speakeasy-bar in de duistere kelders.



Hier werden we ontvangen met een “Captain Haddock” cocktail, op basis van de gloednieuwe experimentele gin. De naam verwijst uiteraard naar de vloekende kapitein uit de stripreeks Kuifje/Tintin, een wereldwijd bekend Belgisch icoon.

Captain Haddock


Ingredi├źnten 
5 cl Monkey 47 EXP#2 Brussels
2,5 cl Giffard Pamplemousse Rose
1 cl Yuzu azijn
2 dash Angostura bitters


Bereiding
Geroerd in een mengglas met veel ijs. Geserveerd in een cocktailglas met een groot ijsblok.

Alexander Stein vertelde ons een stukje van de geschiedenis van Monkey 47. Wat me daar zeker is van bijgebleven is dat hij maar liefst twee jaar heeft gesleuteld aan het originele recept, omdat hij absoluut geen middelmatige gin op de markt wou brengen. Met de Experimentum Series wil hij nu enkele keren per jaar een bijzonder project op de markt brengen, zeer gelimiteerd en dus enkel voor echte die-hard liefhebbers. Na een eerste project met ‘Japan’ als thema was nu ‘Brussel’ aan de beurt. Ik heb me meermaals afgevraagd waarom het niet ‘Belgium’ is geworden.

Alexander is een grote liefhebber van onze traditionele Belgische ‘moules-frites’, en dat bracht hem op het idee om distillaten te maken van meerdere typisch Belgische smaken en deze te blenden tot een nieuwe Experimentum Gin. In deze ‘Brussels’ editie zitten naast de 47 originele botanicals ook distillaten van onze typische blauwe mosselen, gefermenteerde Belgische bieren en chocoladepeper. Tijdens de voorstelling mochten we de aparte distillaten ook proeven, wat best wel een interessante ervaring was.


Intussen serveerde sterrenchef Edwin Vinke (De Kromme Watergang **oesters en een soepje met vongole. Alles was uiteraard vers en zeer lekker, maar om eerlijk te zijn bleven we toch letterlijk wat op onze honger zitten. Misschien was een perfect in het thema passende portie ‘moules-frites’ een interessanter idee geweest ­čśë

Buiten de flessen die via de lottrekking worden verkocht is een gedeelte voorbehouden voor een selectie van cocktailbars, waar je dus terecht kan om te proeven : Dogma (Antwerpen), The Alchemist (Gent), Green Lab (Brussel) en Botanical by Alphonse (Namen).


Met dank aan Monkey47, Dogma en persbureau Walkie Talkie voor de uitnodiging.
Grote foto’s : Walkie Talkie. Foto's in de collages : Double Strainger.


Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

zondag 22 december 2019

3 Days of Angostura (3/3) : Hot Angostura Chocolate

 
On this last day of Angostura we conquer the cold. For this series “3 Days of Angostura”, we were challenged to publish three tasty and festive cocktails with both Angostura 7 rum and Amaro di Angostura.

Everyone knows that a shot of rum in your cup of coffee (or chocolate) is a very good thing. So let’s do this, the Angostura way ­čśë 


Hot Angostura Chocolate


Ingredients
50 ml Cream
150 ml Whole milk
50 gram Chocolate tablets
30 ml Angostura 7 Rum
20 ml Amaro di Angostura


Method
Bring the cream and milk to the simmer, add the chocolate and let it melt completely. Add both Angostura products. Stir shortly and serve in a large cup. Add marshmallows. Dust with cinnamon. Sing Christmas carols.


I really hope you liked this “3 Days of Angostura” series. I thought it was a very nice ‘special’ to end our festive theme weeks. We hope you all have a great time celebrating Christmas with your friends and family. 

Disclaimer : All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Management & Communications unless stated otherwise in the article. This article is a paid promotion for House of Angostura.