MixMo LXXIII: Witches’ Garden – Southside

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May is a month when vegetal world starts to flourish. So this month’s Mixology Monday event has been awarded with an appropriate spring-related theme. It was cleverly called «Witches’ Garden» by Mark Holmes who hosts the event at his Cardiff Cocktails tumblr.
Here is an excerpt from explanations that Mark gave in his announcement post:

 

As far back as we can look, the use of fresh herbs have been prevalent in the world of mixed drinks. From the early days of the julep, through Williams Terrington’s 19th century Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, to Don the Beachcomber’s ahead of their time Tiki drinks, fresh herbs have always been at the forefront of mixology. So lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing.

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MxMo LXVI: Bein’ Green – October’s Still Green

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Happy to see MixMo online cocktail parties back in action. It was a blow for me to miss «Equal Parts» event due to my illness. Excellent topic, very interesting. My respect is to Frederic for that event and for reviving MixMo parties, of course.

Also my warm words come to Ed of the Wordsmithing Pantagruel who hosts the current party and has invented a topic for it. So timely now, «Bein’ Green» is the theme for the party and Ed’s explanation is:

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Alizé Daiquiri

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Do you love classic Daiquiri? If you ask me, I’ll answer that I didn’t understand it until I’ve got used to mix there aged Cuban rums only. Cocktails with lime and white rum make me sick, to be honest. Too acid and plain for my taste. A few years later Moscow stores offered too little rum and there were mainly cheap white rums: Cuban pair Varadero and Havana Club and Puerto Rican Bacardi, of course. Later the situation has improved a lot but since those times I dislike «ron blanco».

So now I’m used to take medium-bodied aged Cuban rums when I need to mix Daiquiri. Maybe that’s wrong but the cocktail benefits from strong and distinct rum flavour. Also I’m choosing aged rums when I want to make some fruit twists on classic Daiquiri. And this time I’ve used it in my passion fruit inspired cocktail.

Here I’ve used Alizé Gold Passion, a modern liqueur based on Cognac and passion fruit. With Cuban rum, it creates wonderful tropical aroma – fruity, spicy and exotic.

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Gin Daisy

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Here is the third report about what I was drinking this summer. The first and the second were about Gin Fix and Tom & John Collins respectively. Now the post about Gin Daisy completes a story about gin summer adventures.

In my post about Gin Fix I’ve explained in details my vision concerning differences between Gin Fix and Gin Daisy. It’s just an opinion based on some old cocktail books and posts of respected bloggers as well.

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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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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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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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Old Fashioned. The story continues

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For me, Old Fashioned cocktail is a pure inspiration. I love it made in traditional way with bourbon and also I love to tweak a bit the cocktail’s classic recipe.

My first post is dedicated to normal Old Fashioned. Current one is about all Old Fashioned variations I love so much.

In my work I applied two basic methods: a) to change a spirit and b) to replace (partially) syrup with a liqueur. Additionally I was trying to combine various bitters and extracts.

Another method  is to mix two or more brown spirits. In my opinion that’s a tricky way and today I feel I’m not ready to go in for these experiments. Now I just adopt another bloggers’ practices, and my latest effort was theSpeakista’s cocktail called Final Five. That’s not Old Fashioned but I dare suppose it a cocktail in Old Fashioned style. In any case, I’ve made two cocktail in similar manner and wrote about it below.

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S.I.P.#2: Sidecar

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We’re continuing our Russian online cocktail party. The 26th of November  is the date of the second event, and Sidecar is the theme for it.

Sidecar, a cocktail legend. Its roots are in the beginning of last century. I have no intention to seek for stories about the men who invented Sidecar. I’m going to learn how vintage recipe will work now and find my own perfect recipe.

I have had my first Sidecar experience when I was newbie in cocktail culture (I mean «more newbie than now»). I’ve red a nice article about Sidecar then took equal parts of awful Russian brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice and eventually got teeth-damaging acid liquid  impossible for drinking.

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