Lychee Punch

It’s been a while since I posted last, in part because I haven’t been feeling all that creative in the cocktail department. I’ve mostly been drinking old favorites or easy to throw together things. But tonight I got the nudge I needed to tinker. That nudge was in cleaning out the fridge I found a bottle of lychee juice left over from New Year’s Eve. Clearly, it was cocktail time!

Lychee Punch

I also wanted to get some use out of the ice crushing bag and tiki mug that I got for Christmas, so I decided to go in the tiki direction with this (as if I need much of an excuse to make a tiki drink). It also gave me the right template to use relatively a lot of fruit juice, since that was the point.

2 oz    lychee juice
1 oz    silver cachaça (Ypióca)
0.75 oz mezcal (Vida)
0.5 oz  absinthe (Pernod)
0.5 oz  lime juice
6 drops Boston bitters (Bittermens)
Shake well and strain over crushed ice
Garnish with rum-preserved cherries

This could be confused for a sour, with the lime bright and noticeable and the mouthfeel light, but much of the bite really comes from the cachaça. The mezcal and absinthe would normally be stand-out flavors in a cocktail, but here, they mix with the lychee to provide a balanced mid-range. If this is missing anything, it’s a base-note of some sort. That would usually be the dark rum component, but I’m not sure this want’s that sort of flavor. I think it might mute the brighter notes of the lychee. I don’t think that’s a fatal flaw, though, as something this refreshing is truly dangerous to be drinking out of a straw…

I’m going ahead and calling this a punch because I think it would scale up very well for a party, perhaps with a bit of simple to give it more heft. I’ll give that a try once the weather gets warmer.

Lychee Punch Closeup

I made the cherries for the garnish last summer when I found a pound of them in the fridge right before I left town for a week (noticing a theme?). I forget the exact recipe I used, but I took a standard brandied cherries recipe and switched out the brandy for rum and keeping a health dose of spices there. Surprisingly easy to make if you already have a basic canning setup. I recommend it!


Ginger Pilot

mxmologoSpring Break is the theme of this month’s Mixology Monday challenge (wrap-up post), hosted by Southern Ash. I’ve been thinking more about tiki-style drinks lately, and this seemed like a good excuse for some experimentation. Also a good excuse to pick up some falernum. I should really have gotten some of this ages ago; add seltzer and it’s basically instant ginger beer. Which means I don’t have to stock ginger beer to have a Dark and Stormy. Which is dangerous.

Ginger PilotFor this challenge, I took inspiration from the Jet Pilot cocktail, which is a personal favorite of mine, though I usually don’t make things quite that complicated at home. Rather than adjust the spices too much, I decided to play with the mix of spirits at the center and bring in some other warm-weather favorites. I used a mix of golden Cachaça and silver mezcal alongside the usual 151 and I must say that it turned out very well!

1 oz    gold cachaça (Diva)
0.75 oz silver mezcal (Mina Real)
0.75 oz 151° rum (Cruzan)
0.5 oz  lime juice
0.5 oz  grapefruit juice
0.5 oz  cinnamon syrup
0.5 oz  falernum syrup (BG Reynolds)
6 dash  orange bittters (Scrappy's)
Shake well and strain over (crushed) ice
Garnish with grapefruit peel

This came together really, really well, if I do say so myself. The combination of boozy, citrusy, sweet, and spicy was remarkably balanced. This one goes down very easily, so while I garnished with a straw for the photo, I don’t recommend consuming it that way unless you actually use crushed ice. The ginger bite from the falernum is still clear even with all the other ingredients involved, so be careful not to have too heavy a hand there. The mezcal I used isn’t particularly smoky, so didn’t shift the character as much as some others would, but definitely added to the overall complexity. I considered adding a few drops of Pernod, as in a standard Jet Pilot, but couldn’t really imagine anise helping things here, so didn’t actually do so—if any of you try it, let me know how it goes!

Ultima Palabra

Ultima Palabra

I am a big fan of herbal cocktails and sours, so it’s not a big surprise that I enjoy the Last Word (equal parts gin, Chartreuse, Maraschino, and lime juice). Happily, its simple formula is quite amenable to variations. My favorite of these is the Ultima Palabra, which swaps out the gin for a smoky mezcal.

0.75 oz mezcal (Vida)
0.75 oz Green Chartreuse
0.75 oz Maraschino
0.75 oz lime juice

Shake and strain

This drink really covers a lot of bases. It starts off sour, moves through sweet, and ends with bitter that lingers. It’s satisfying enough to drink slowly, but the sour pucker makes me want to keep drinking—am impressive feat given its potency. It’s not the sort of cocktail that I’d normally refer to as “balanced” (it’s certainly not smooth), but the assertive parts all play off one another so well that a balance is achieved.

Pepper on Fleek

Pepper on Fleek

A couple of weeks ago Megan at Drink made up a cocktail for one of my friends with “mezcal, black pepper, honey and lemon”. Here is my attempt at recreating it, which I am dubbing “Pepper on Fleek”, as the phrase “On Fleek” is clearly the spiritual descendent of the phrase “The Bees Knees”, which is also the name a the drink this drink is a variant of. The picture here is of the first version I tried, which was tasty enough, but didn’t come out as peppery or smoky as was needed. I’ve included that recipe after the jump for those who might be interested.

2.0 oz Mezcal (Vida)
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz honey syrup
1.5 ml black pepper tincture

Shake and strain
Garnish with a lemon twist

This is agressive in a couple of good ways. There’s pepper and lemon on the nose; the sip starts with smoke, transitions into tart lemon, and then finishes with a lingering pepper kick. It’s not super-smooth, but the three different types of sharpness, tied together with the honey works really well to keep you sipping.

Continue reading