I just started two projects: A rushed limoncello and a less rushed Tequila por Mi Amante. Both are concoctions I’ve never had the pleasure of making myself, nor even tasting for that matter. Limoncello is an Italian liquor based on, you guessed it, of lemons and sugar. Or at least that’s what I’m told. I’ve been seeing it around for a while and wanted to try it out for the fabled Fig Party we knew was coming up sometime. Unfortunately, we didn’t know quite when the party would be, and I waited until we heard, and it’s this Saturday. Decent limoncello seems to take a week minimum, often a bit longer, so we’ll see how this goes. If anyone has any fig-themed cocktail ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Dearest readers, my apologies for abandoning you for so long. I know that all three of you have been wading through posts on spring, squids (scary!) and samosas, tapping your fingers and waiting for the next cocktail. My apologies, but midterms were upon me, and they’re just not conducive to trying new drinks. However, I have a few hours this afternoon where I should be working on homework, and a possible trip to LA is still a few hours off, which really provides a golden opportunity. I’ve been wondering if I could try something with that dusty bottle of green chartreuse, and stumbled upon the Bijou Cocktail.
1 oz gin
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz green chartreuse
1 (or 2) dash(es) of orange bitters
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass then garnish with an olive and lemon peel.
That’s right, I said an olive. You’ll see recipes that call for a cherry, which was far less brain-bending to my mind, but this drink is all about the olive. Because, my friends, the Bijou Cocktail is a strange and delightful journey. The chartreuse is certainly present, as is the vermouth, as is the citrus, as is the olive. It’s like you invited one friend from each of your very different social circles, and now their all hanging out in your mouth having a delightful time.
Green Chartreuse is one of those things I’ve had around for years, and I’m always happy to find an excuse to use it. If you have some in your cabinet, then this is worth giving a shot. It’s certainly not something I’d have two of in one sitting, but I’ll be returning to it again soon. The only ingredient I didn’t taste in this was the gin, although I used Plymouth. I’m quite curious to try it again with something a little more aggressive, perhaps Junipero.
UPDATE: The Junipero was, in fact, a terrible idea. Plymouth gin is delightful, as is Beefeater. Christy finds the drink interesting as well, although probably wouldn’t make it through a whole one.
This entry is unusual in that I tend to avoid posts about drinks I don’t really enjoy. It’s often a sign that I haven’t figured the drink out, yet. That may be the case here, but perhaps it’s just my lack of interest in brandy and general wariness of lemons. Sidecars do come up somewhat often, and since they’re a good way to use up some of that brandy that’s hanging around after making mulled wine, I wanted to revisit it. After some experimentation this is the version I’ve enjoyed the most:
1.5 oz brandy
1 oz cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass (I’ve also seen it served in an old-fashioned glass). Garnish with a lemon twist, preferably flamed if you’re really classy.
This is less brandy and less lemon juice than is usually called for, although I do tend to pour the brandy somewhat generously. I also like more cointreau than is usual, something reflected in this recipe.
This cocktail came about since I had accepted a dubious mission. Namely, making dinner. Now, I don’t mind cooking dinner, it’s just that I have a few things I know how to do well, and when I move beyond that arena there is a high potential of Bad Things Happening. I just don’t have the familiarity with the terms and process so end up with everything needed to happen at one point, and finding myself chopping the garlic as the onions are burning. I decided to get myself in the mood, I’d revisit the Sidecar. I happened to have fresh lemons on hand, which provided enough juice for me to experiment a couple of times to find the version I liked the best (above).
Having succeeded in something that seemed close to cooking (a recipe, multiple ingredients, what can be the difference?), I opened the cookbook and started working.
Alas, the Sidecar was of little help. I eventually managed to get my way through a really quite simple recipe involving a forest of some theoretically enchanted broccoli without mucking it up too badly (ok, perhaps there was too much dill). Still, I had my usual moments of panic as all the timers went off, things boiled over and ingredients that needed adding were yet to be chopped. In the end, I have another recipe I now know enough to probably prepare more cheerfully next time, and the feeling that I’ve finally got at least a handle on a cocktail that’s been on my mind for some time.
So I recently purchased a copy of “The Bartender’s Guide” by Jerry Thomas, aka “The Professor”, aka the guy who decided to organize and write down how to be a bartender, from mixing drinks to manufacturing liquors. The book is made up of two smaller books. The first is “How To Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” and was published in 1862.
Recipe #8: Scotch Whiskey Punch
Steep the thin yellow shavings of lemon peel in the whiskey, which should be Glenlivet or Islay, of the best quality; the sugar should be dissolved in boiling water. As it requires genius to make whiskey punch, it would be impertinent to give proportions.