Archive for the ‘Bunnyhugs originals’ Category

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I considered writing the Charlie Chaplin up for Raiders of the Lost Cocktail. I decided not to in the end though. Partly I wanted to write up a drink that combined Lillet with apricot brandy, and partly I was not sure if the Charlie Chaplin qualifies as being ‘lost’. I have occasionally seen the Charlie Chaplin on bar menus. Still, the name of the drink is rather old worldly, as is the use of sloe gin, so I won’t argue with anyone who wants to label it a lost drink.

 

The one bar where I have drunk a Charlie Chaplin was a little Japanese place in Shanghai. This time the bar in question was not Constellation, but rather the little bar inside the Garcon Chinois restaurant on Hengshan Rd. That bar is much smaller than Constellation, and does not have nearly the same range of spirits, but the cocktails used to be very carefully and expertly made by a Japanese woman who knew exactly what she was doing. (more…)

Mixology Monday: Variations

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

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The theme for this Mixology Monday, hosted at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour is ‘variations’. For once I haven’t had to think about what to throw together. This month’s theme perfectly fits something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now, namely a very straightforward and versatile variation of a Gin and Tonic. (more…)

The Feather Boa

Monday, January 14th, 2008

 

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The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday (hosted at Sloshed) is brandy. I’ve been taking a bit of a look at pisco recently (check posts here, here, here, here and especially here), so brace yourselves for some more pisco brandy.

 

Some weeks back I made a dead simple and intuitive pisco drink, (more…)

Mixology Monday: East and West Indian Fizz

Monday, September 17th, 2007

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The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday (hosted at Cocktail Nerd) is Fizz. A few obvious things came to mind (Tom Collins, G&T, French 75, etc.), but I thought I’d try and do something nobody else was likely to come up with. Given how well a heavy dose of bitters worked in the Calvados Cocktail I made last month, I thought that this month I’d once again go for something bitters heavy. This time though I decided to use Angostura. (more…)

A Ramos Gin Fizz – and a Rose Fizz

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

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I haven’t posted anything for the last couple of Mixology Mondays. My excuse in April was being on holiday and having no access to Champagne. It seems it isn’t a popular drink in the remoter parts of Western China. I didn’t have a very good excuse in May since I was already back in New Zealand by that stage. All I can say is that I still hadn’t got around to setting up a bar in my apartment and the idea of tequila drinks didn’t inspire me enough to make me rush out and go shopping.

 

This month my bar is more or less functional and the theme is cream, a theme which seems very doable. (more…)

The Heart of Darkness

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

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There is a club in Phnom Penh called the Heart of Darkness where I spent a couple of memorable evenings back in August. I drank Guinness and Tequila Slammers. The environment was a confused medley of Cambodian elites and their gun toting body guards (the doormen were very selective when searching customer for weapons), local foreign residents, higher class working girls (since the working girls apparently had to pay a fee to get in), and bemused looking tourists. It was lots of fun, but not really a sit-back-and-savor-your-drink type of environment. I have no idea if Heart of Darkness served Martinique rum. I discovered the dry and complex tasting Martinique rums at some other bars in Cambodia, most notably Riverside in Battambang, which gives huge pours of the excellent St. James Ambre for just US$1. (more…)

Frozen Surf: a drink for a Scandinavian Christmas

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

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A couple of nights ago I dropped into the recently opened Henry’s Brewpub in Shanghai. The beer there is US style. It is nothing like the English beer brewed at Galbraiths in Auckland, but it isn’t too bad. The prices are also reasonable, only 30 RMB a glass, compared to at least twice that for the Bavarian wheat beers at the Shanghai Paulaner. (more…)

The Sleigh Flip: or Santa may not make it. . .

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

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The theme for this week’s Mixology Monday (hosted at Spirit World) is Drinks for a Festive Occasion. I was a little stumped about what to contribute. I had been thinking about something using my homemade Pimento Dram, the Jamaican allspice liqueur. Allspice evokes the holiday season more than most tastes do. I am not entirely happy with how my Pimento Dram has turned out though. The only over-proof rum I could find was Bacardi 151 which may be the reason my Pimento Dram is a little harsh, and the allspice taste is more ‘hot’ than fragrant. However, rough Pimento Dram is better than none.

I was still thinking along the lines of Pimento Dram when I wandered down to the supermarket looking for some cider. The plan was to do mulled cider with a shot of Pimento dram in it. It turned out the supermarket no longer stocked cider, but they did have something unexpected and even more seasonal – Samichlaus Bier from Austria.

Samichlaus Bier (Santa Claus Beer) bills itself as the strongest lager beer in the world. For a while it was the strongest beer in the world but with all the microbreweries opening up in the U.S. over the last decade some U.S. brewery now claims that title. Samichlaus Bier is brewed each year at Christmas and released in time for the following Christmas, meaning it counts as an aged beer. The beer itself is a deep copper color, with a sweet and winey taste, relatively little bitterness, and a staggering 14% alcohol by volume. It used to be made in Switzerland, but now seems to be from Austria.

I don’t know how easy this beer is to buy internationally, but must be widely distributed if it has turned up in Shanghai. It used to appear in New Zealand each year before Christmas. I remember one year walking into a wine shop and being surprised to find the stuff. The woman who owned the shop waxed lyrical about how fantastic it was and I bought a couple of bottles. A year later I happened to walk past the same shop and saw the same beer, now at a give away price, complete with a sign reading “The most revolting beer in the world! Please help us get rid of it!” I think I bought a case.

The Austrian version seems to have less character than the original Swiss version but is still a pleasant beer. It is a bit sweet and you wouldn’t want to drink it too often, but it is definitely not revolting. I thought it would be fun to use Samichlaus Bier to make an ale flip.

A flip is a very old fashioned winter drink that simply involves mixing hot alcohol, an egg, sugar, and maybe something spicy. A Samichlaus Bier flip seemed perfect for the holiday season, and since a flip is vaguely punch-like you could mix this stuff up in a large batch to serve a crowd. Note that I’m not suggesting in any way that this would be a good idea and obviously you should check the details of your home and contents insurance policy first. Alternatively just serve it at a friend’s house and observe the fun.

The recipe. . .

Sleigh Flip (or Santa May Not Make It)

250ml Samichlaus Bier

1 egg

30ml St. James amber rum

2 teaspoons Pimento Dram

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

2 dashes orange bitters

1 teaspoon dark muscovado sugar

If the egg is from the fridge, first warm it in a bowl of hot water to bring it to room temperature or thereabouts. Warm the beer on the stove or in the microwave to just below boiling point. Be careful not to actually let it boil, since it will likely foam up and spill everywhere. In a warm bowl (the bowl you just warmed the egg in would be easiest) beat the egg with the rum, Pimento Dram, bitters and sugar until slightly frothy. Add the warm beer and beat together. Pour into a mug and serve.

This doesn’t have to be made with Samichlaus beer. Any reasonably full bodied beer would work nicely. Samichlaus is a lager but generally ales would work better. Samichlaus works well because it is an extra strong lager with plenty of flavor. You might want to adjust the ratio of sugar depending on the beer you use. Samichlaus is very sweet so you need no more than a teaspoon – in fact you could probably even dispense with the sugar entirely. A drier beer might demand more sugar.

St. James or some other Martinique rum seems an appropriate spirit addition because it has complex but not too assertive flavors and relatively little sweetness. Whiskey would also be interesting too but may be a little dominant. Brandy would be nice but would be less traditional than rum. Rum was often used in flips when they were still popular (in the 19th century and earlier), perhaps because it was cheaper than brandy or whiskey, and a better fit than gin. I am ready to try most things, but a mug of hot gin, beer and an egg? Hmm. . . maybe after a mug of hot rum, beer and an egg.

 

Benedictine makes a nice substitute for the Pimento Dram, though in this case consider leaving out the bitters and upping the ratio of Benedictine since Benedictine is relatively subtle. If using Benedictine consider substituting honey for the sugar. You could even consider trying Chartreuse. It sounds a little crazy, but why be shy when dealing with half a pint of hot beer and an egg? A drink like this calls for heavy flavors.

Enjoy!

The Autumn Frogman

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

This was actually written for November’s Mixology Monday but since I shifted my blog I am reproducing it here.

The topic of this month’s Mixology Monday is bitters. On a recent trip to Cambodia I happened to pick up a bottle of Suze. I had heard of Suze before but never tried it. From what I could make out of the label it seemed to be flavored with Gentian, an ingredient I’d only vaguely heard of before. The shop where I bought it was Phnom Penh’s largest French supermarket so I was fortunate enough to be able to ask a passing French woman what Gentian tasted like. ‘Aniseed’ she said. That didn’t sound entirely right to me since I had a feeling Gentian was something different. However, given that aniseed is such a divisive flavor I figured her description meant Suze had some kind of interesting taste and so I grabbed a bottle.

The French woman clearly was not much of a Suze drinker, or perhaps was as confused about aniseed as I was about gentian. When I finally got the bottle back to Shanghai (along with my other Cambodian finds – St. James rum and Marie Brizard Apry) I tasted no aniseed. I found the Suze rather like Campari, but less intense and without the orange taste. Apparently gentian is some kind of bitter flower. Suze is lighter bodied than Campari, less bitter, a little floral, and apparently has a wine base. I like it.

Suze tastes great with a splash of soda or tonic, but I wanted to find some Suze cocktails. I did a little research but came up with nothing. There were a few cocktail suggestions on the Suze website, but none of them grabbed me. The standard cocktail websites don’t mention it much.

So in honor of the approaching Mixology Monday I did a little experimentation myself. Because of Suze’s similarity to Campari I took the Negroni (a favorite of mine) as my starting point.

I tried mixing 1 part Suze, 1 part gin and 1 part French Vermouth. This was drinkable but I felt it didn’t mesh together well. Perhaps it would work with the proportions changed around – the gin dominates a bit. I thought Suze would go nicely with some fruit, and that some sweetness and acidity might help put the gin in the background, so I tried adding some orange juice. A version with equal parts of Suze, gin, vermouth and orange juice wasn’t too bad, but lacked character.

Another day and another attempt and I came up with something I was happy with. This time I used calvados instead of gin, to produce a fruitier gentler drink that plays off Suze’s relatively mild bitterness. Calvados always reminds me of Autumn and so bringing out the calvados bottle seemed fitting for the season as well. I think this would make a nice aperitif before an autumn meal involving cooked apples – maybe pork with apple, or chicken Normandy?

So the recipe. . .

Autumn Frogman

1 oz Suze

1 oz calvados

1 oz French vermouth

Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a twist of lemon peel over the drink to extract the oils, rub the peel around the rim of the glass, and drop into the drink. A dash of orange bitters might also be nice instead of the lemon twist, though I haven’t tried this yet.

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This drink isn’t as bold as the Negroni, but I think Negroni drinkers will appreciate it. Personally I’m very pleased with it. For an aperitif this drink is slightly mellow (something that could probably be changed by upping the ratio of Suze), but the mellowness seems part of the charm. While I would never want to abandon the wonderful Negroni I can see myself substituting the Autumn Frogman occasionally when I feel like something slightly more low key and heart-warming. If you simply happen to want to bring out the Suze this drink is just the thing.

Why is it called an Autumn Frogman? This drink has three French ingredients so the name was always going to refer to France, and who could refer to the French without having a joke at their expense?

I am from New Zealand and in our minds (or is it just in mine?) the French will forever be associated with the bombing of a Greenpeace protest boat, the Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland Harbor. Yes, I know it happened in 1985, but we’re talking about the French here! The Rainbow Warrior was sunk in winter, but I expect the French agents spent the Autumn wet-suited up and training for the mission. The Calvados also matches the Autumn theme. So I present to the world, the Autumn Frogman!

Being an unforgiving person, on a previous occasion I came up with a Rainbow Warrior cocktail, but that will have to wait for another day.