Beberages and Drinks



Cranberry Mors

Emily Han's Wild Drinks and cocktails is a fantastic book. Just got it recently and I really think is a great acquisition.  Going through the pages, the lucky one who loves cranberries asked me if I could prepare this drink..and as we all know what she wants she gets. 

This is a drink with pedigree as it comes from the 16th Century's Russia. There are versions with other berries and I can imagine that it would work just as well (and I will try in Summer with Blackberries and with other berries). The drink's name means "honey drink" (not the same as honey you are drunk) and it has great body and texture.

The end result was fantastic. Te drink was really tasty cold...but to me when I warmed it up and added rum, well...just so you know the lucky one wanted to role play she being the tsarina. It was a something else...


Cranberry Mors

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes   Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
2 Cups of Fresh Cranberries
5 Cups Water

1/2 Cup of Honey

Juice of 1/2 Lime (approx. 15 ml)

…optional

1 Cinnamon stick

2 Cloves

Preparation Instructions
1. Rinse and pick the cranberries and discard stems or leaves. Combine the cranberries and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and cook until cranberries burst, approx. 20 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and mash the cranberries in the pot.  Return to the pot and boil for another 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.  

3. Stir in the honey and lime juice, cover and let it cool to room temperature.

4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a container, discard the pulp (I used later on); cover and refrigerate.   

5. Now…you have to options:

1. Serve chilled, which is quite nice, has body and tons of flavor or
2. In a saucepan pour the amount you are about to drink, stir with a cinnamon stick and ad 2            clovers and some orange zest strips.  Serve immediately. This is Mulled Mors!
3. For grownups add some rum. It just can’t get better than that!

6.Enjoy


The best (and real) Margarita Ever!

It is not a secret that I like tequila. As I have stated in some of my previous posts I have been drinking tequila since I was 10. Actually not...since I was 14...Ok Ok...16. Usually I don't drink cocktails because I like the flavor of what I am drinking on its own -and my experiences with the mix of fruit juice and alcohol was not great way back then when I was young and beautiful-.

Sometimes I drink a good Manhattan and my other mix drink is Margarita. The problem is that in most places Margaritas are just terrible. There is this conception that is a let's get drunk drink or a we are in Puerto Vallarta drink and in reality it is a fantastic cocktail. It is wrongly conceived so bad that they sell the "pre mixed" margarita!!!

I am a perfectionist -kind of, not really- but when it comes to cooking I really pay attention. Now that Spring is approaching us AND the fact that the current wife gave me a kit to make ice spheres so I can mimic a Manhattan given to me in Mexico that was served inside (yes inside) a ice sphere. Those guys there (I can't say that it was the Four Seasons in Mexico because it would sound pretentious) know how to make a good drink shine.

Their Manhattan was fantastic and, I can humbly say...my Margarita is fantastic too!

Go crazy. Make one...try and prove me wrong. I have added some common questions and answers at the end of the recipe to answer before you even ask.


The best (and real) Margarita Ever!


Preparation Time: 15 Minutes   Makes 1 servings


Ingredients

1 Oz Lime Juice

1 Oz Agave Syrup

1 Oz Grand Marnier

1 Oz Tequila -a good one!-

Ice for Chilling the mix








Preparation Instructions

  1. We are going to mix the Lime juice, the agave syrup, the Grand Marnier and the tequila. 

2. Using a bartender mixer glass or something like that would do the trick, put tons of ice (at least 3/4 of the container) and pour the tequila mix.

3. Shake like crazy for about 1 minute, as we want the Margarita to be cold.

4. Using a strainer separate the ice from the Margarita. You can add ONE big ice cube -or sphere- so it keeps it cool but doesn’t make it watery….

5. Enjoy!

Now… couple of pre-emptive answers to common questions:

-Can I use Couintrau instead of Grand Marnier?

-Yes you can. I like the taste of the Grand Marnier for this drink, but you can use Couintreau also.

    • I use a cheap tequila, right?

    • Not at all. The most important part of the cocktail is the tequila. Using cheap tequila will equal a cheap flavored drink. A good cocktail needs good ingredients. I use reposado, but you can use regular, Añejo or Platino or diamane…up to you.

  • Can I substitute the Agave syrup for something else, like sugar or honey?
- No. sorry the agave syrup and the tequila come from the same plant. The flavors just work.

  • I like blended Margaritas…
- I like Ice cream too but this is a cocktail not sorbet. The crushed ice will just water down the drink. No point in that, right?

  • And…the salt on the glass rim?
-I feel that the salt adds nothing to the drink and only adds an unwanted flavor to it.

-I don’t have tequila can I use white rum, for example?
-Are you kidding me? 


Maraschino Cherries

This is the thing. I like cherries and... I enjoy a good drink -I guess to forget how the current wife gives me the cold shoulder-. Most of the time I drink Tequila but sometimes I will prepare some sort of cocktail (nothing with fruit juices ... pleeeaaassseee!) and when I add the nice looking cherry...it just tastes like, well... candy. It is candy though. The contemporary and industrialized idea of what one should consider a Maraschino Cherry.

Thhe original maraschino cherries were quite small, super-sour wild Marasca cherries from the eastern shores of the Adriatic. These cherries were pickled in sea water and preserved in maraschino, a local cordial made from the same fruit and other herbs. In the 19th century, maraschino cherries were such a rich person's delicacy that The United States' Food and Drug Administration started protecting the real Maraschino Cherries in 1914, requiring all pretenders to employ the word "imitation" on labels for the ones not actually made the proper way with the proper ingredients.

During Prohibition, Americans had to improvise on the maraschino cherry and lose the booze. The neon-red thingies that we Americans equate with hot-fudge sundaes and kiddie cocktails are domestic cherries (usually Queen Anne) dyed and packed in almond-flavored sugar syrup. By the 1940s, the Day-Glo variety had infiltrated the American palate to the point that the FDA actually changed its definition of a maraschino cherry to include this humiliated, flavorless imitation of a treat.

But, being a man that I am and such a traditionalist, I decided to do my own. I researched and researched and... once I had four or five recipes that made sense I created my own.

The first obstacle was to find Luxardo: the original Maraschino liquor. In my small town they look at you as if you are on dope or something when you ask for it in the Liquor Store. The Canadians and the Italian liquor are just not a match. I looked and looked for all last Summer. Eventually I got a bottle... 

The end result is a fantastic taste Maraschino cherry but, the price I paid is that my cherries are not red-super red-mega red cherries that one gets in any bar...but I rather go for the flavor than for looks. I just can taste these in any real cocktail and... why not... with vanilla ice cream as an afternoon dessert. 

The current wife is distracted with some "cochinitos de piloncillo" that I baked on her request. One of the many many traditional sweet bread that you can buy in a real panaderia. If you want I might even post the recipe, just let me know. I will have to bake them again as the wife has already eaten the 36 I baked... yesterday... I know...

Maraschino Cherries

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes     Prep time: 3 days   Makes 500 g
  
Ingredients

500 g Sour Cherries (fresh)

500 ml Luxardo (Maraschino Liquor)


4 Tbsp Sugar

Patience (lots!)


Cooking Instructions

1. Pitt the sour cherries after washing them. I pitt them sideways as I like to keep the stem.

2. In a medium size pot put the cherries, the Luxardo and the sugar and bring it to a quick boil. Remove immediately from the heat and put them into a medium size metal bowl.

3. Allow the mix to cool and then cover it with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for 24 hours.

4. After the 24 hours, mix the cherries with the juice (Luxardo now in a kind of syrup). By now the cherries look a bit pale; it’s OK (unless you want them bright and red in which case go to the store and buy some). Cover and put back in the fridge for another 24 hors.

5. Repeat the last stem and put back in the fridge. The juice will look redder and the cherries paler. It’s OK. By now you can try a cherry … it should taste fantastic and quite alcohol charged. Not a kiddie stuff.

6. On the 4th day, mix again the juice with the cherries and jar them (I jar them in small jars as I can use them for cocktails without risking unnecessary spoilage. In a jar they last quite a bit (couple of years!) but once opened… about a month in the fridge.

7. Enjoy!…with any cocktail or with grown-up desserts. Unless you want your child to learn the intricate world of alcoholic beverages… give him/her the store bought ones….

Michelada!

Everybody that knows me knows that my preferred drink is Tequila. If Tequila is not available then I'll settle for other less precious drinks. In winter I'll go for red wine (Malbec!) and if I'm am in the mood, then I'll go for Scotch. Now if the current wife is not in the mood (you know...the headache syndrome) then I just go to bed with the pleasant memory of a good drink.

I have discovered two things by now: one is that the older women gets the more headaches they get and the older men get the more headaches we get. The women's headaches are quite unexplainable whereas ours are easily identifiable: women with frequent headaches.

Most of the time all guys claim that their country of origin beer is the best. Irish (gosh), American (really?), Canadian (hey).... but all are wrong. The only good beer is, of course, Mexican. If you think otherwise then please know that you belong to the wrong side.

The current wife never ever drinks alcohol unless there is some available to her. Then she goes crazy. Lat time she drank, she climbed a tree in peruse of a black bear who she swore it was a bird, that is, a black bird. Hughe fight. Black bear vs current wife. I'm writing this on my black bear carpet, so guess who won that fight.

Beer is nice but in Summer a Michelada is a great drink. There are hundreds of recipes. This is the one. It was given to me by Michaela, the woman who invented it. A woman!... I know...





Michelada


Makes 1 Drink        
       Preparation Time 10 minutes...or less

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Salt to salt the rim of the glasses

1/4 Cup lime juice 

1 1/2 Cups of COLD dark beer (Mexican of course...otherwise please stop reading this recipe)  

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp Salsa Valentina or Tabasco

1 Tbsp  Salsa Maggi (or soy sauce)

Ice

Preparation

MICHELADA

1. In a medium plate we distribute the salt 

2. We frost the rim of the glasses with the lime juice and the salt

3. Put some ice in the glass and pour the leftover lime juice

4. Pour the Worcestershire sauce, the salsa Valentina and the salsa Maggi and mix

5. Very slowly we pour the cold beer (don't pour directly!...use the glass wall). Here you will have two probable results:

** the beer reacts to the salty mix and foams like crazy.  This means that you poured the beer too fast. Don't waste the precious drink. Licking time.
** the beer reacts but you have done it proper;y and then...

6. Enjoy!

Disclaimer:


*This is a temporary loaned picture. I have to fight for the drink with the wife. Eventually I'll post mine.

Herederos del Marqués de Riscal, RIOJA 2007 Reserva


By far I am not a wine connoisseur but I do like wine. Actually I like red wine (what else is there?). Thanks to one of my good friends I get to try different kinds of wine from all price ranges. This one is in my opinion a great wine and yet affordable (now if you like to make your own wine please leave this page now!).

Way back then wine drinkers with big pockets had the patience, the space and the resources to wait patiently for years as their bottles would get to maturity. I do not have neither, so I am one of many that want instant reward when it comes to wine. That is why many producers have changed their methods in an effort to make wines accessible when they are young. You can seat on a Barolo for some years (I like Barolo wine to cook some quite amazing Italian dishes) or you can go for instant gratification with something like a Rioja reserva.

By law a "reserva" has to be aged at least 3 years in an oak barrel before its release. My reserva is (was) dated 2007... Last week it was time to let it be my dinner companion. Me and my wine as the current wife doesn't drink at all!

Rioja is a pioneer is young but fantastic wines. Usually just the name guarantees a great experience -but not always-. A "gran reserva" MUST be aged for at least 6 years... now I know that my friend's choice was a fantastic one. The Marques del Riscal Reserva is a Tempranillo wine therefore the grapes come from vines that are at least 15 years old. Ha!

The color is a cherry red, that clings in the glass (good robe they call it) and has a bit of a fruity taste...dark berries. The only problem was that it did not last long enough. Four out of five stars in my humble opinion (that at the end is the only one that counts!)