M5 Raspberry Punch

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Last summer was a busy time for me. I’ve planned to produce some homemade infusions and liqueurs and spent a lot of time gathering berries, fruits and herbs, selecting and preparing them and eventually infusing various spirits with selected stuff.

Raspberry infused gin was the first point in my to-do list. I’ve decided it in winter when I’ve enjoyed Clover Club with raspberry syrup time after time. But that’s not the only cocktail where raspberry gin could be used. Many gin-based cocktails and longdrinks definitely benefit from substituting raspberry infused gin for regular one. But the first drink where I’ve started to use my raspberry gin was a punch variation which has been improvised by myself once when I’ve wanted to drink something refreshing and berry-flavoured.

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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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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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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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Americano

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For a long time I thought that Americano is something like infantile version of splendid Negroni. As a gin lover, I always preferred Negroni as Americano was a natural outsider for me. But summer comes, and it’s a time to switch over to lighter and more refreshing drinks.

But I can’t imagine my cocktail life without Negroni, so I see gin exclusion as the only way to keep myself enjoying sophisticated mix of Campari and sweet vermouth.

Last summer monstrous heat confirms my thoughts. Two months without single rain and with 35-40°C temperature in the Moscow megalopolis were very hard time to drink strong alcohol so sparkling bittersweet Americano was a salvation for me.

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Screwdriver

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Summer comes, and people are going for drinking more refreshing cocktails. Even die-hard Martini lover like me starts to think about Tom Collins when buying another bottle of gin.

For a long time I was neglecting long drinks. Usually I would prefer to shake orange juice with gin and serve it straight instead of building orange juice with vodka over ice in a highball. Sometimes I was trying to avoid ice-cold drinks and not to catch cold, sometimes I just wanted straight and strong drink in the end of another hard day.

This time I have an intention to break my prejudice. The first long drink in the series will be Screwdriver, a mixture of vodka and orange juice.

I have no idea how matters stand in America but in Russia Screwdriver has a bad reputation thanks to ignorant bartenders who mix cheap vodka with surrogate juice.

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Thyme Cocktail

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It’s summer now, and everything around are in blossom. I have my wish for consuming fresh vegetables strengthened so for me greengrocery has became very popular place for shopping at least until next month when we expect to gather first vegetables at our countryside house’s garden.

Recently I’ve enjoyed black tea with thyme and lemongrass. It was quite tasty, and once I think about using thyme in cocktails. I wasn’t pondering long over future cocktail’s formula: neutral alcohol to underscore thyme aroma, syrup as sweetener and lemon juice to add more sharpness.

After a week of unhurried experiments I’ve got eventually my new cocktail with simple formula and simple name – Thyme Cocktail.

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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.#4: Old Fashioned

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Old Fashioned cocktail is the topic for the fourth round of our online imbibers party called S.I.P.

For me, this drink is an essence of cocktail culture. An icon. Or a symbol.

I prefer gin-based cocktails but when I have no idea what to drink tonight usually my choice is not Dry Martini but Old Fashioned. I love his strong character and his dry and sweet flavour. I love to make Old Fashioned, this simple procedure calms emotions and creates special atmosphere.

Old Fashioned is an immortal classics and an inspiration for creative boozing.

And that’s enough. Stop talking, take a bottle of whiskey and bring yourself down to make the cocktail.

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