I've been experimenting with my recipe of the classic whiskey sour. When I started making them I followed the class, using only Angostura bitters. This makes a really nice cocktail but kind of lacks something in my opinion. I later found the fantastic bitter Peychaud's which marries fantastically with bourbon. Adding some of this, about three dashes, to your sour will lift it a level. It will also add a really nice colour to your cocktail.
Last summer I had the opportunity to add two new bitters to my collection, Boker's and Ornico. Each will give your sour a new dimension. Do keep in mind, I'm not removing any, just adding more. So now I tend to mix them with three, Angostura, Peychaud's and wither Boker's or Ornico.
The other day I found out that the Swedish off-licens chain, which have monopoly on selling alcoholic dries in Sweden, have stated to sell a cocktail bitter. One of the real downsides to live in Sweden when you enjoy making cocktails at home is that it's impossible to get hold of bitters. Now they have stated to sell a bitter called Seehuusen's Bitters. It has flavours of coffee and chocolate. It also mixes really well with a sour. So the lates Whiskey sour to be made in my bar is:
2 shots Jm Beam Bourbon
1 shot fresh lemon juice
1/2 shot simple syrup
1/2 egg white
3 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
3 dashes Seehuusen's bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice. Pour into ice-filled old fashion glass.
In early July this summer me and my family visited BELLE Epoque in Malmö. I asked the staff for a good apéritif to start the meal (which was nice). They served me a variation on a cocktail they had picked up at the bar Tjoget, in Stockholm. The cocktail is called Milano and here is BELLE Epoque's recipe:
3cl Blood Grape
1.5cl Coffee syrup (this coffee syrup is made with one part strong coffee and one part sugar)
Top up with tonic - make sure to make it a good tonic.
Mix all ingredients but the tonic in an ice filled wine glass. Top up with tonic. Garnish with blood grape peal.
I found this cocktail very refreshing. The balance between sweet, juicy blood grape and coffee is really nice.
Ice is one of the most important ingredients in a cocktail. Even when it's not in the glass it's used during mixing. This makes the quality of ice very important.
First of all the water used has to be of good quality. If you don't have good quality tap water I would strongly recommend that you filter the it. This greatly improves it. This is important since badly tasting water will affect the taste of the drink.
Secondly the temperature of the ice is important. I always take my ice directly from the freezer when putting it into the shaker or the glass. I never use ice that has been out on the bar for a while since it gets wet. Wet ice dilutes the drink to much.
Third is the size. If I don't use crushed ice, which I don't very often, I used large chunks. I freeze ice in freezing boxes of various sizes. Most are five by ten by two centimetres. But some are about ten by ten by ten centimetres. I then use a cast iron pester to crack the ice into suitable chunks. A small block is usually made into two pieces. One piece like this is enough when shaking a cocktail.
The reason the size is so important is that it makes it possible to control dilution more precisely. Since the ice is so large it will cool the drink faster whilst melting slower. This makes it possible to mix the cocktail until it's perfectly diluted without worrying about its temperature. The same is true when serving on the rocks. The larger the chunks of ice the slower they melt and the better they keep the cold.
But when serving on ice it also provides for a nice visual effect. Imagine your sour or old-fashioned poured into a glass with one single block of ice that is so large it just fits in the glass. Or being served a long drink on hand cracked pieces of ice, not one looking like the other. It always impresses my guests 🙂
Last night we had our neighbour over for a couple of cocktails. The spirit for the evening was Tequila. A bottle of Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado to be more specific.
My favourite for the evening was Amante Picante. It's a wonderfully refreshing drink made with cucumber, coriander, hot sauce and agave syrup. Most recipes uses green Tabasco but I much prefer using Cholula Original hot sauce, if you can get your hands on it. The recipe is:
2 slices of cucumber
2 sprigs of coriander or cilantro
1½ shots of Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado Tequila
1 shot of freshly squeezed lime juice
½ shot of agave nectar
2 dashes of Cholula Original hot sauce
Peel and chop the the cucumber. Muddle it with the coriander in the base of the shaker. Add all other ingredients and shake with a block of ice. Serve in a martini style glass decorated with a wheel of cucumber.
Both my wife and my neighbour became very found of a cocktail called Freddy Fudpucker. This is a lovely blend of tequila, orange and vanilla in the form of Galliano. It is served in a collins glass. To add to both the flavour and colour I added two raspberries. The recipe is:
2 shots of Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado Tequila
½ shot of Galliano L’Autentico liqueur
3½ shots of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 fresh raspberries
Shake all ingredients with a block of ice and fine strain into a ice filled collins glass. Decorate with a slice of orange and a fresh raspberry or two. Serve with straw.