Unicorn Kisses Highballs

100-0090_26061477521_oThis is a serious post, though the main ingredient, Unicorn Kisses seltzer, is part of an elaborate April Fool’s plot. When my friend Kate insisted that we go to the store for Unicorn Kisses early last Saturday, I knew I had to make a cocktail from it. For this difficult mission, I called in my friend maryr for expert advice, sparkly stickers, and coordinating bandaid choices.

First off, the seltzer itself. It’s got a floral nose that is reminiscent of kid’s lip gloss, or maybe watermelon jolly rancher, or maybe Strawberry Shortcake (the doll, not the dessert). Basically, it smells like pink and rainbows and glitter. Luckily, it’s artificially sweetened, so it’s not cloying, despite that aroma. It does kinda taste like artificially-flavored candy, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on what the actual flavor is. I would never drink something like this generally (so I’m glad I didn’t get a case of the stuff), but it is remarkably quaffable given all that. 

100-0060_26061521631_oWe made two drinks, one that accentuated the Unicorn Kisses flavor and one that complemented it.

1.5 oz white rum (Don Q)
0.5 oz grenadine (Else's)
2.5 oz Unicorn Kisses (Polar)
Build in a glass with ice
Garnish with a lemon twist and a sticker

Not, good per se, but it really fulfills the promise of the Unicorn Kisses, so kinda like alcoholic strawberry Nerds candy? An experience.

100-0068_26061511331_oThe second drink was clearly the best of the evening:

1.5 oz Midori, chilled
Unicorn Kisses to cover
Express a lemon peel over and garnish

Um. This was good? Like smooth and sweet and like non-sour apple candy?  Jolly Rancher was our go-to again for a taste comparison. The Unicorn Kisses cut the melon and sweetness of the Midori nicely. A hundred things in my bar, and it’s the Midori that paired best? This is confusing and I need to lie down now.

In all our sampling, it was the remnants of college drinking that worked best, Midori, grenadine, peach schnapps, etc. Any attempt we made to add bitters or complexity either overwhelmed and masked the Unicorn Kisses or was outright vile. So, in the end, the seltzer is probably best enjoyed on its own, if you are lucky enough to come by a bottle.

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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!

Old Boy’s Club Cocktail

mxmologoThe theme for this month’s Mixology Monday, hosted by Putney Farm, was “hometown hooch” (update: roundup post). I had two local spirits in my cabinet: Bully Boy Boston Rum and St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur which turned out to work together quite well. I also had a bottle of Bittermens Boston Bittahs which, while not made in Boston, was actually a pretty good flavor match.

2 oz New England rum (Bully Boy)
1 oz elderflower liqueur (St. Elder)
12 drops Boston Bittahs
1 ml green Chartreuse (optional)

Stir and strain

Old Boy's ClubThe flavor is sweet and floral with the elderflower providing the primary flavor, brightened by the citrus from the bitters. The apple/lychee notes from the St. Elder really come out here. This is sweeter than many of the cocktails I make, but there’s enough complexity to ground it and keep it from being cloying. The bitters-quantity of Chartreuse helps balance it out, though it is still drinkable without it and other things such as orange bitters could fill the role if you don’t have Chartreuse handy. A squeeze of lemon juice or lemon twist garnish might also be at home here, but I didn’t have a lemon handy to test with. Decidedly refreshing on a warm summer afternoon!

Fall Toddy

Fall Toddy

I know it probably seems strange for me to post a drink called the Fall Toddy on the first of June, but it is currently 48°F and raining in Boston, so I’m just not in the mood for a sour. It is mostly a sense of indigence that is keeping me from turning on the heat, so I’ll bundle up and pour myself a hot drink.

1 oz   apple brandy (Laird's)
1 oz   New England rum (Bully Boy)
0.5 oz cranberry vodka
0.5 oz simple syrup
2 dash Jerry Thomas Bitters
4 oz   boiling water

Combine all ingredients in a mug

Comforting and smooth with a spice and complexity. The cranberry vodka is a homemade infusion. I don’t really have a precise recipe, I just start making spiced cranberry sauce, only add a small amount of sugar (a couple tablespoons instead of a couple of cups), transfer it to a bottle and top off with vodka.