MxMo LXI: Local Color – Russian Apple Sour

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Mixology Monday monthly online cocktail party is going on and it’s great!

The current event starts on Sunday thanks to Lindsay who hosts it at her Alcohol Alchemy blog.

This time MixMo is about local spirits and Lindsay wants to know what local craft spirits we have here and why we love it:

…pull out your favourite «local» craft spirit (for those of you not in US, what hidden gem from your neck of the woods do you want to give some cocktail press?)…

Well, in the Russian woods we have the only spirit and you are all know it as vodka. Actually samogon (and not vodka) is Russian craft spirit (follow the link and look for «Russia» section). Unfortunately home distilling as well as hand-craft distilleries were illegal in Russia for a long time so now we have only vodka industry alive and growing. I’m aware that cocktail enthusiasts do not love vodka so I opt for vodka infusion.

Various hand-crafted and commercial vodka and samogon infusions are widely spread in Russia.

Making infusions in autumn, I’m used to taking Antonovka apples that are in season in late September. Antonovka apple tree is an ancient cultivar that came from Central Russia and probably it appeared as a crossbreed of unknown apple cultivar and wild apple tree. Antonovka apples are very sour at first and bring wonderful and strong nose so it’s used in homemade preserves and traditional culinary. Later the stored apples become a bit sweeter and suitable for eating – usually in December and later.

I’m sure that typical Russian apple flavour will underline local peculiarities of my Antonovka vodka infusion.

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Macallan Fine Oak 12 yo Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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My next whisky review is about another well-known and inexpensive Scotch single malt whisky, Macallan Fine Oak 12 years old by name. According to official website, that’s a starting point in Fine Oak series which includes whiskies matured up to 25 years.

The main point of Fine Oak series is to use ex-bourbon casks side by side with traditional for Macallan sherry casks. And so spirits for 12-years aged  Macallan Fine Oak whisky were matured in ex-bourbon casks and in sherry casks made of American and Spanish oak.

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S.I.P.#5: Tom Collins

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The fifth S.I.P. event is coming, and the theme it brings in the spotlight is Tom Collins, an evergreen classic long drink.

Born John Collins, it was mentioned in Harry Johnson’s «New And Improved Bartenders’ Manual» in 1882. At that time Collins was based on Dutch gin also known as genever or jenever. When Old Tom gin has came to market, John Collins found a brother Tom Collins by name. In Tom Collins bartenders utilized English gin – Old Tom, Plymouth and London Dry, of course.

It was Tom Collins who has became popular long drink while his brother John remained little known because of genever’s limited availability.

In the second half of 20th century Americans have thought of John Collins. But for the newfound John they used bourbon whiskey and not genever. New thing is none other than forgotten old thing. Ironically, Americans pretend to be Tom Collins inventors and John Collins is a Britain-born long drink which was named after London Limmer’s Hotel bar waiter John Collins.

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Hedgehog in the Fog

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This post is dedicated to Pernod pastis, French anise aperitif. Many people dislike it because anise and licorice flavours remaind of cheap cough medicine. In the times of Soviet Union when I was a child, my mum gave me such medicine which tasted and smelt of anise seeds and licorice root – not the candies a baby would enjoy.

Now I’ve got rid of that dislike, mostly for anise and not licorice. I can drink Pernod neat but in cocktails I like it much more.

The cocktail I write about is an adaptation of modern recipe called Green Beast which has got Chairman Trophy award in Ultimate Cocktail Challenge 2011. The original recipe calls for Pernod Absinthe, a hard-to-find alcohol in Russia. All my attempts to buy it have failed so I’ve turned to Pernod pastis.

With Pernod pastis, mint and some changes in proportions, my «Green Beast» version looks like another cocktail, and that’s why I’ve decided to change the title. Now it’s called Hedgehog in the Fog – like a cartoon character of the same name which was very popular in 80s in Soviet Union.

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Chanteuse

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This short post is about cocktail combined flavours of unique French liqueur Chartreuse, lemon juice and sparkling wine. There are two popular type of the liqueur – green and yellow, either of them is great in cocktails, and my story is about green Chartreuse, magnificent aromatic spirit with stunning strength of 55% ABV.

This factor is the cause why the liqueur has became base spirit for Chanteuse cocktail. Mixed with champagne and lemon juice, green Chartreuse offers complete solution in creating a cocktail with unique aroma and proper strength.

I’ve found this piece of state-of-the-art mixology at Married… with dinner blog and as far as I understand Anita and Cameron, a couple behind the blog, are the people who invented Chanteuse.

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Gin Fix

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I have a secret: my favourite summer drinks are based on gin so it’s not Mojito or Paloma but Tom Collins, Gin Fizz, Gin Fix, Gin Daisy, Gin Smash etc. I found it a bit weird when I saw people going mad about Mojito or Cuba Libre. Sure, rum is exceptional in tiki but I can’t imagine summer without dry Gin & Tonic or Negroni.

So I’m going to talk about simple long drinks with gin, lemon juice and sugar. Honestly, I don’t know how far I’ll go but Gin Fix is the first drink I want to talk about.

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Mandarine Margarita

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Tequila is not a spirit I often used in cocktails. I can’t say that I don’t like tequila but usually I prefer gin and whiskey. The cause is unclear. Maybe tequila isn’t as flexible as other spirits in use or I just have no chance to enjoy good tequila yet.

In any case, usually I take a bottle of tequila only to make Margarita, a perfect cocktail that I can’t stop to enjoy. Besides classic Margarita, I love to make mandarin and strawberry versions from time to time.

It’s funny that it’s harder to buy high quality strawberry liqueur rather than the same mandarin liqueur. Cognac-based Mandarine Napoléon is a quite expensive stuff but it’s widely available and of highest quality so this liqueur is a must for the cocktail I’m talking about.

Mandarine Margarita was my long-term wish since I’ve saw it at Science Of Drink. Version with Cointreau was a bomb so I was burning with desire for Mandarine Napoléon version. And when I’ve bought the liqueur, I’ve made Mandarine Margarita right away.

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Ruby Rangoon

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Another long drink I want to talk about has a weird history. Unfortunately I have no direct access to sources mentioned below and can’t say exactly about it. Information I stubbornly gathered in Internet is a quite diverse so my summary version looks like a theory.

Because the first recipe I’ve found was a cocktail from CocktailDB, I’ve named the article Ruby Rangoon. Maybe that’s not completely correct but I love this version much more than all others.

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